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The Star, the Saint, and the City

Regional historian-author William Briggs talk about how the origins of San Francisco and early California journalism are the focus of his new book. From the discovery of the great bay to the arrival of a shipload of the first Yerba Buena immigrants and the subsequent transformation into the City of San Francisco, the book traces this history through the first San Francisco newspaper, The California Star and the dramatic life of its publisher Samuel Brannan.

According to Briggs, a California State University emeritus dean and retired journalism professor, history has marginalized the importance of Sam Brannan, and the enormous role played by the original Mormon religious refugees he led to California in 1846.  Not only did they colonize Yerba Buena, but his fledgling newspaper renamed it San Francisco and two years later broke the news about the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, launching the Gold Rush and transforming California.



Mar 20 2024


1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


MPC LF-103
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Najm Akbar

I am Muhammad Najm Akbar. Call me Najm.
Born in Multan, Pakistan, I had my initial education there.
In the United States, I have graduated twice from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, MA 1995 and MALD, 2011, and have a graduate degree in History from Fresno State, 2022. Middlebury awarded me an MA in Teaching of Foreign Language, in 2009.

Alia and I have lived In Monterey since 2005. Our children are married and engaged in their professional lives in New York.

Our biggest delight is our two granddaughters, the eldest turns four soon, and the youngest is about a year and a half old.

I remained part of the Pakistan Foreign Service for two decades and at the Defense Language Institute taught Urdu for thirteen years until 2018.

I joined the MPC pool of adjunct history instructors in 2022 and have taught courses in Gentrain, World History, US History, and History of World Religions. 

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