C-SPAN reveals Wilmington history, literary authors during weeklong visit

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WILMINGTON – As a way to showcase the area’s rich history and talented literary authors, C-SPAN has landed in southeastern North Carolina to tell Wilmington’s story.

In conjunction with its Charter Communications cable partners, C-SPAN producers arrived Tuesday at historic Bellamy Mansion on Market Street to unveil plans for the weeklong shoot as part of the cable network’s 2017 Cities Tour and non-fiction book series, BookTV.

Photo courtesy Bellamy Mansion Museum
Photo courtesy Bellamy Mansion Museum

“This city is definitely a well-kept secret,” said Debbie Lamb, C-SPAN coordinating producer. “The idea is to get out of Washington D.C. and take our programming on the road. We’ve  selected cities across the country and hope to give a little light on Wilmington to our national audience.”

During their time in the Port City, C-SPAN crews will speak to local historians, non-fiction authors and conduct educational and community outreach. From the politically motivated 1898 race riots to the many historic sites at Fort Anderson, Fort Fisher and the Battleship U.S. North Carolina, Wilmington’s transition from its 1739 incorporation to its present day look will be told.

“We can’t get to everything because there’s so much in a given history,” Lamb said. “We’ve got a lot of great things and today’s press conference will give viewers a little information about Bellamy Mansion, but not in the way we would have liked to tell its story. We’re really grateful to be here in Wilmington. There’s a lot of rich history and your heritage is awesome.”

Fort Anderson Historian Chris Fonvielle was among the first be interviewed to shed light on the Confederate stronghold during the Civil War. John Moseley will also provide information about the historic site at Fort Fisher.

In addition to giving a flashback in Wilmington history, the network is using the opportunity to get in touch with some local authors. Dana Sachs, who penned “The Life We Were Given: Operation Baby Lift, International Adoption and the Children of War in Vietnam,” will be underscored.

North Carolina Battleship.
Battleship North Carolina

“Cape Fear Rising” author Philip Gerard is set to be highlighted through the BookTV series. His 1997 publication focuses on the political climate that ultimately led to the 1898 Wilmington race riots.

“We will find non-fiction authors who have written books and it may not be about the city itself, but it highlights what your literary scene looks like,” Lamb said. “With BookTV, we look at rare and special collections and it’s another neat way to tell a story about a city.”

Rounding out the network’s visit, a stop at the Publishing Laboratory on the campus of UNC-Wilmington. C-SPAN BookTV producer Tiffany Rocque also plans to examine rare books from the North Carolina History Room at New Hanover County Library.

An in-depth look at sites and old residences through an African-American walking tour and research at Cape Fear Museum on native American roots caps the trip.

Local segments will air on BookTV (on C-SPAN2, Charter Communications channels 16, 226) and American History TV (on C-SPAN3, Charter Communications channel 227) throughout C-SPAN’s special Wilmington weekend, March 18-19.