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Tune in as C–SPAN turns a ‘vivid lens’ on Fredericksburg

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The outdoors are calling this fine fall weekend, but TV watchers will have something tempting, too, to enjoy on their screens.

Today and tomorrow, it’s “Fredericksburg Weekend” on C–SPAN as the nonprofit cable outfit airs many hours of programming shot this summer for its Book TV and American History TV channels.

“It’s exciting to see many of our Fredericksburg attractions, historians and authors featured on C–SPAN,” Julie A. Perry, manager of the city Visitor Center and the team leader who welcomed the cable-TV team here, said Friday. “We believe it is well-deserved attention and are confident the national exposure will encourage visitation and be a powerful voice in conveying Fredericksburg’s story and unique sense of place.”

C-SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles team for its cross-country “Cities Tour”: Coordinating producer Deborah Lamb (left), Mark Farkas, Adrienne Hoar and Tiffany Rocque.

Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw’s segment kicked off the weekend Friday, airing on C–SPAN’s popular “Washington Journal.”

Content will be sprinkled throughout the weekend on the respective networks, but AHTV and Book TV will have blocks where all of their Fredericksburg-area pieces will air, said Debbie Lamb, coordinating producer for C–SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles’ “Cities Tour.” It launched in May 2011 to feature different communities across America.

Fredericksburg segments will air at 7 tonight on C–SPAN2’s Book TV and at 5 p.m. Sunday on C–SPAN3’s American History TV.

“This visit was the result of a great collaboration C–SPAN has with Cox Communications and their connections in the city,” Lamb said Friday. “Thanks to Jessica Carver and the team at Cox, we were able to connect with the Boys and Girls Club, where we spoke to a group of students about the role of a C–SPAN videojournalist.

“What really made the Fredericksburg programming special was, as Mayor Greenlaw said, you can walk downtown and see history all around you. Within several blocks, you have history from two different presidential administrations. Having visited a number of American cities now, we think that’s pretty unique—and we’re excited to share the history of Fredericksburg with the C–SPAN audience.”

To explain all the programming, C–SPAN has created a special Fredericksburg Web page (see below). For those who can’t watch in real time, all of the segments will be available on the C–SPAN Video Library site at after they air this weekend.

To spread the word, C–SPAN is using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. See Twitter hashtags @cspan, @BookTV, @cspanhistory and @cspancities.

C–SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles staff visited various sites to explore the area’s history and culture. They included Historic Kenmore Plantation; the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library; the streets of Fredericksburg’s downtown Historic District; the University of Mary Washington; and Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home in Stafford County.

At the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, the videographers filmed curator Christopher Uebelhor and the Civil War exhibit “Fredericksburg at War.”

For different perspectives on people’s wartime experiences, the team focused on diaries kept by city residents Jane Beale, who owned slaves, and John Washington, a slave who took advantage of the Union occupation to flee to freedom.

John Hennessy, chief historian of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, took a camera crew on a walking tour of Fredericksburg, discussing John Washington’s life here and the rare memoir he wrote of his years in bondage.

“It’s irksome that for most people, Fredericksburg is a sign on I–95 passing at 65 mph” Hennessy said Friday. “It’s a great thing that

C–SPAN is bringing people to the heart of the community—a place that has some of the richest, most compelling stories anywhere.

“Whether you live here or have never been, this should be a vivid lens on a community that is like thousands of others and also unique among them.”




Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029