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Arts & Culture

"The Butler" Producer Speaks To St. Philip's Students

Courtesy photo
Will Haygood

You may not know Wil Haygood by name, but you likely have heard of "The Butler," the Hollywood film about an African-American butler's decades of service at the White House, that's made over $100 million at the box office so far. Haygood, a reporter for the Washington Post and Associate Producer on the film, spoke to students at St. Philip's College today.

Despite his accomplishments at the Washington Post, the Boston Globe (as a Pulitzer Prize Finalist), and in Hollywood, Haygood’s demeanor is humble. But that doesn’t mean he's without passion.

"Civil rights history is the American story. That’s your quintessential story."

Haygood suggests the United States hasn’t fully processed its complicated history, especially in areas of race.

"I was in south Africa when Nelson Mandela walked to freedom. I was a foreign correspondent with the Boston Globe and one of the first things he did was to create a truth and re-conciliation commission to bring blacks and whites together to talk about race," Haygood says.

While Haygood thinks there is still much to do about race in the U.S., a European acquaintance’s thoughts gave him some perspective after Barack Obama was elected President.

"You elected an African-American, a person of color to lead your country. In Europe we have never even come close to that. So we are in awe of that."

Haygood was at St. Philip's to speak to students about the past, and about their futures, especially how they can reach their goals.