Interview with “The Butler” author, Wil Haygood

I9780307957191 recently interviewed journalist/historian Wil Haygood in anticipation of his visit to the Atlanta History Center. He is best known for writing The Butler, and he has recently written a biography about Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first African American Supreme Court justice. Haygood was inspired to write about Marshall, because Marshall won Brown v. Board in 1954– the same year Haygood was born, and he considers Marshall to be the most influential figure from his birth year. Here’s a tidbit from our chat:

ArtsATL: You have written biographies about Sammy Davis, Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and, most famously, the White House butler Eugene Allen. What inspired you to write a book about Marshall?

 Wil Haygood: Lawyers spend a lot of time in their offices, but Marshall spent a lot of time out in the field, in the South, way before the 1965 Civil Rights Act. He had faith in the ultimate moral muscle of this country, even while drinking out of separate water fountains and staying at segregated hotels. His faith never dimmed. That’s very powerful. When he won the school case in 1954, there was a wave of resentment, and many of those schools stayed all white. And he went back and filed more lawsuits against school districts. He stayed the course.

Read the full interview here:

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