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Miami alum and commencement speaker Wil Haygood earns Ella Baker Award


Wil Haygood
Wil Haygood
Acclaimed author and journalist Wil Haygood (Miami '76), the commencement speaker at Miami University's May 11 ceremony, has been awarded the Ella Baker Award from the Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. The award honors an author whose work epitomizes citizenship and community service.

Haygood has been a Washington Post journalist since 2002 and is the author of several books. The award is in recognition of his Post article on Eugene Allen, who served eight presidencies as a White House butler, and is the narrative behind “The Butler,” a major movie to be released next fall. Previously, he wrote for the Boston Globe and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

“For shedding a light on those who give much, but are little noticed, such as your reporting on the life of Eugene Allen that will be presented in a Hollywood film, 'The Butler,' you demonstrate the power and absolute need for African American writers as storytellers to share the full of the American experience,” said award organizers.

Haygood has won a previous Legacy Award from the Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation for In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. His books include Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson, In Black and White, Two on the River, King of the Cats: the Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and The Haygoods of Columbus: A Family Memoir.

The Ella Baker Award will be presented Oct. 25 during the 12th annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Award ceremony at the Carnegie Library in Washington, DC.

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation is a literary organization that discovers, educates, and mentors African American writers at pivotal stages of their growth and development.

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award supports the foundation's programs that develop the talents of emerging and published writers, inspire young writers to achieve, connect writers to the publishing industry, honor the best in African American literature, and share great works with readers.


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