Essays

John Pearce on James Farmer: An Oral History

ssmith8 : December 9, 2009 7:24 pm : Essays

Sadie Smith     3 December 2009

John Pearce on James Farmer: An Oral History

Five minutes after my sitting down with John Pearce he mutters, “that was just the way it was,” pointing out that he grew up in all white schools, never questioning the missing black population. Such an understanding of life became challenged on a national scale by the civil rights movement.1 For Pearce, though, a true conviction about racial inequality in America did not come until a “serendipitous” 1984 meeting with civil rights leader James Farmer. From talking with Pearce it is apparent that Farmer created a similar racial awareness for most people he interacted with, specifically as a professor at the University of Mary Washington. Quoted by Dr. William Crawley as “the most notable addition to the [history] department’s faculty-indeed to the whole College’s faculty,” Farmer was a man of great ideas and complexity.2 As a participant in this broad research project on James Farmer, my purpose is to understand both who Farmer was as well as how he is remembered. I write to highlight information learned about Farmer’s tenure at UMW, provide context for this interview as a part of a broad research project, and evaluate Pearce as a narrator of the memory of James Farmer.
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James Farmer Essay – Based on Prof. Ferrell Interview

mballard : December 5, 2009 6:04 pm : Essays

James Farmer Interview Essay

For this interview, myself and a classmate, Timothy Sherrange, interviewed Professor Claudine Ferrell of the University of Mary Washington History department.  She began teaching at UMW the same year as James Farmer, 1985.  She teaches African-American history along with other eighteenth and nineteenth century American histories.  Professor Ferrell provided a detailed story about Farmer’s time at UMW.

James Farmer came to UMW and taught a single class about the period of the Civil Rights movement he was involved in, which was from 1940-1980’s.  Farmer used his autobiography, Lay Bare the Heart, as the chief text for the class, which he taught without notes or slides. more »

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Philip L. Hall Interview Essay

jmattos471 : December 3, 2009 1:22 pm : Essays

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Mary Washington College (later the University of Mary Washington in 2004) for 19 years, Philip L. Hall played an integral role in keeping Dr. James Farmer, Jr. at the college and founded the James Farmer Scholars program.  During the interview with him, he talked about these two topics as well as the various honors that Farmer received, Farmer’s impact on the student body, and Farmer’s general persona(1).  While discussing Farmer, Hall reflects an administrative point of view that was proud to have Farmer at the university.
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