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The Blue & Gray Press | August 23, 2019

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C-SPAN's weekend special features Fredericksburg with faculty


Over the weekend of Sept. 21, C-SPAN aired its feature of Fredericksburg Weekend, a program consisting of aired interviews recorded in August, which featured a select number of prominent people with extensive knowledge of the history and culture of the Fredericksburg community.

Three of the people interviewed for C-SPAN’s program were Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science, Jeff McClurken, professor of history and Tim O’Donnell, professor of communication.  The program also featured Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum and Library and Dan Preston, editor of the Papers of James Monroe.

Farnsworth examined the ways modern media creates what he calls a “presidency focused perspective.” Throughout the interview, Farnsworth discussed the quality of news the American public receives based upon the way the media reports upon presidential affairs, a theme also presents in the book that he co-authored, “The Nightly News Nightmare.”

McClurken discussed his book “Taking Care of the Living: Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia” on the program. McClurken introduced his book by stating, “It’s really about two things.  It’s about the impact of the war on the thirty-four hundred men and their families…and it’s also about the ways those Confederate veteran families…attempted to deal with the consequences of war.”

O’Donnell discussed the achievements of James Farmer, a former UMW professor during the American civil rights movement.  O’Donnell and C-SPAN discuss Farmer’s actions as a civil rights activist and leader who helped initiate the 1961 Freedom Rides and Farmer’s position at UMW as a professor of history from 1984 until 1998.

During the interview, O’Donnell gave an exceptional appraisal of James Farmer’s accomplishments, stating, “his time in the classroom was one of the most significant moments in American public education.”

Scott Harris and Dan Preston spent their time throughout the C-SPAN program discussing James Monroe’s life, the effects he had and continues to have upon society.