On September 12th, I attended the talk with Wil Haygood discussing his new movie “The Butler. ” It seemed that the entire community came together to see Wil Haygood speak that night. The entire gym was filled to see Wil, and you could tell that he was very appreciative. I am really glad that I chose to go to the talk rather than the movie because I got to hear about Wil Haygood’s life and how the movie really came to be. I can always go and see the movie whenever I want, but this was a great chance to see what Wil has to say and listen to him talk about his inspiration behind the book and movie.
ODU’s manager of communications, Thomas Brockman, introduced everyone that was a part of the event. First, Don Davis was introduced because she made the Butler book possible. Davis was the publisher of “The Butler. ” Next, Steven Reece came to the podium. He had a 22 year career at the Washington Post and edited Haygood’s original article. These two people were extremely significant in the success that “The Butler” has had. Finally, the author, Wil Haygood, was introduced.
I was excited to hear about his journey and his perseverance in making all of this possible. Wil Haygood was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where his career as a writer began. He attended Ohio Dominican University as a high school student and received his bachelor degree from Miami University of Ohio. It is inspiring that someone as successful as him has roots from ODU. In high school he was accepted into the Upward Bound Program and it remained the greatest moral movement in United States history.
It is great that Haygood was getting involved at such a young age and trying to make a difference in our country. Haygood had become successful during his career as a journalist. His success as a writer had only developed more when he received a call from a lady that told him about Eugene Allen. This call is what started it all. He relentlessly pursued to get a hold of Allen and had to make 57 different phone calls until he finally reached him. Haygood was not going to let anything get in his way of getting to talk to Eugene.
Eugene worked as a White House butler for 34 years and never missed a day of work. He served as a butler from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Allen agreed for Haygood to come over and speak with him. However, before he said anything Mrs. Allen had to make sure Haygood was a good person. Finally she gave Eugene permission to show Haygood the basement. The basement was dedicated to the presidents and his life. All of this gave Haygood critical information to be able to write about Eugene.
I always commend people that go out and find these stories because without Haygood we would not know about Eugene Allen. Many obstacles got in Haygood’s way where he could have called it quits, but he kept moving forward. Once the book came out it was an instant New York Times Best Seller. It is considered one of the best political books of the year. I have not had a chance to read the book yet, but after hearing from Wil Haygood it is definitely a book that I want to read.
History can tell us so much about our country and this book can tell us more in depth about the history that Eugene Allen was a part of. I am glad I attended this event because it showed me that if one really wants something, then he should go after it. Failure is always going to happen, but if one never goes out and tries, he would never know if he could actually achieve his goal. Haygood made a name for himself by putting himself out there and making a difference. I want to be an individual that makes a difference and Haygood has given me inspiration to go after what I want.