Tacoma, and UW Tacoma, on C-SPAN

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The first weekend in August was all about Tacoma on C-SPAN. Take a look at videos of twelve local authors and historians, including five with UW Tacoma connections, as they share their passions for things local and global.

C-SPAN, the public service media outlet funded by the U.S. cable television industry, recently visited Tacoma as part of the C-SPAN Cities Tour. As described on its website, “[the] Cities Tour takes our Book TV and American History TV on the road. On the first and third weekend of each month, we’ll feature the literary life and history of a selected city.”

Tacoma’s moment in the C-SPAN sun was August 5 and 6, 2017. Over the course of those two days, segments highlighted local authors and local history. The programming is available for viewing via a special Tacoma page on the C-SPAN website.

A number of the segments feature experts who are part of the UW Tacoma faculty.

Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan has taught local history at UW Tacoma for more than 20 years. He is a longtime consultant on architectural history and preservation through Artifacts Consulting. In one segment, he describes the building and ultimate collapse of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, one of the most spectacular and studied suspension bridge failures ever. In another segment, Sullivan outlines the momentous decision by the Northern Pacific Railway to select Tacoma as the terminus of the northern transcontinental railroad, in 1873. That action resonates down to today in the structure and built environment of the UW Tacoma campus.

Marian Harris

Marian Harris, professor of social work in UW Tacoma’s Social Work & Criminal Justice program, discusses her book Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare. She outlines the scope and scale of racial inequalities in the U.S. child welfare system, and prescribes policy changes to address the unequal treatment. Harris has been on the faculty at UW Tacoma since 2002.

Justin Wadland

Justin Wadland is the head of media and digital collections at the UW Tacoma Library. His book Trying Home: The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Colony on Puget Sound won the 2015 Washington Book Award in the history category. In this C-SPAN segment, he discusses the history of Home, Washington, a short-lived Pierce County utopian community of anarchists and supporters established in the early 20th century.

Katherine Baird

Katie Baird, associate professor of economics and chair of the division of Politics, Philosophy & Public Affairs in UW Tacoma’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, published Trapped in Mediocrity: Why Our Schools Aren’t World-Class and What We Can Do About It in 2012. In the book, she looks at national, state and local school policies through an economic lens, and proposes a national/local model for school governance as a path to improving K-12 public education in the U.S.

Russell Holter, ‘98

Russell Holter is a historian for the Washington State Historic Preservation Office, and a 1998 business administration alumnus of UW Tacoma. In 2005, he published Rails to Paradise: The History of the Tacoma Eastern Railroad, 1890-1919. He outlines the history of the railroad that served as the gateway to Mt. Rainier.

The other segments in C-SPANs Tacoma coverage include interviews with:

  • Tanya Erzen, associate research professor at University of Puget Sound, talking about her book God In Captivity: The Rise of Faith-Based Ministries in the Age of Mass Incarceration.
  • Andrew Gomez, assistant professor of history at the University of Puget Sound, visiting Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park and describing how the Chinese population was driven out of Tacoma in 1885.
  • Leon Grunberg, professor emeritus of sociology and Sarah Moore, professor of psychology, both at University of Puget Sound, talking about their co-authored book Emerging from Turbulence: Boeing and Stories of the American Workplace Today.
  • Cynthia Iyall, a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe and chair of the Committee to Exonerate Chief Leschi, talking about efforts to exonerate Chief Leschi, who was tried for murder and hanged in 1858.
  • Harold Moss, Tacoma’s first African American mayor, talking about his autobiography Fighting for Dreams that Mattered.
  • Susan Rohrer, director of the Washington State History Museum, speaking about the life of suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe.
  • Gwen Whiting, education specialist, giving a tour of the Washington State History Museum.
Written by: 
John Burkhardt / August 10, 2017
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu