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Spotlight: Journalist Wil Haygood To Speak About His Book On Thurgood Marshall At Valencia

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Photo By Jeff Sabo

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Journalist, historian and writer Wil Haygood will speak at Valencia College Feb. 17. He wrote the story that inspired the movie, “The Butler.” Haygood will be in Orlando to talk about his new book, “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America.”

“He was this very legendary lawyer for the NAACP and he had traveled across the South fighting for equal rights for blacks, so he was filing lawsuits in these Southern courtrooms, by 1967 he was nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” said Haygood.

President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Marshall to the nation’s highest court. Marshall faced a tough and lengthy confirmation battle.

“The Senate hearings were spearheaded by legendary Southern senators whose very states Thurgood Marshall had upended because of his victories, knocking down the laws of segregation. They did not want him to become one of the nine Supreme Court justices. All hearings up to that point had lasted six hours or less. Thurgood Marshall’s hearings went on for five days. It was absolutely unprecedented,” said Haygood.

Haygood said he decided to write about Marshall’s legacy because he felt Marshall was being lost in history.

“When I realized how much drama was involved in this 1967 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, there were riots on the streets, there were anti-Vietnam protests, there was just this brew of social anger, social angst. When President Johnson nominated Marshall in 1967 he said was going to finish the job that Abraham Lincoln started,” Haygood said.

Hear more about what Haygood means by that, who he would like to cast as Thurgood Marshall if Hollywood makes a movie about him, and a Florida story that captures Marshall’s heart and fearlessness.


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Crystal Chavez