The Butler’ Screenwriter to Discuss New Book about Thurgood Marshall

Orlando, FL – Wil Haygood, journalist, historian and writer of the screenplay for the film “The Butler,” will appear at Valencia College on Feb. 17 and 18 to talk about his new book about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Best known for “The Butler,” Haygood will discuss his work portraying African-American leaders and his new book, “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America.”

Although Marshall had more experience and a more distinguished resumé than most Supreme Court justices past or present, he faced a hostile and contentious confirmation process in the U.S. Senate in 1967. Haygood’s book details the behind-the-scenes intrigue and the open hostility that Marshall faced.

The author of previous biographies of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Sammy Davis Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson, Haygood is a former journalist and is now serving as a distinguished scholar at Miami University in Ohio.

The first in his family to attend college, Haygood has written six nonfiction books, including prize-winning biographies of 20th-century figures: “King of the Cats: the Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.,” “In Black and White: the Life of Sammy Davis Jr.” and “Sweet Thunder: the Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson.” His other books are “Two on the River,” the story of a 2,500-mile journey down the Mississippi River, and “The Haygoods of Columbus,” a family memoir.

Haygood’s books on Sammy Davis Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson are currently being developed in Hollywood as motion pictures.

Valencia students, along with the public, are invited to hear Haygood’s speech. Haygood’s appearance is being sponsored by the Valencia College Humanities Speakers Series. Both events are free and open to the public.

Haygood will speak at Valencia’s East Campus on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the college’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets are free, but must be reserved. To reserve tickets, go to

Valencia’s East Campus is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando.

On Feb. 18, Haygood will speak at Valencia’s West Campus from 1 to 2 p.m. His speech will be followed by a panel discussion. Haygood will be speaking in Building 8, the Special Events Center. Valencia’s West Campus is located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando.

For more information about Valencia’s Humanities Speakers Series, please visit