WVSU Program to Examine the Making of the West Virginia Constitution

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Sept. 11, 2013
WVSU Program to Examine the Making of the West Virginia Constitution

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University (WVSU) will host a special Constitution Day presentation on the creation of the state constitution Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Professor Robert M. Bastress of the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law will present “The Making of the West Virginia Constitutions: 1861-1872” in room 134 of the Wilson University Union.

The event is free and open to the public.

Bastress teaches classes at WVU in both constitutional law and West Virginia constitutional law, and is the author of the book “The West Virginia State Constitution,” which provides a historical and legal analysis of the state’s first constitution to the present day.

When Virginia seceded from the United States, voters in Western Virginia authorized a constitutional convention in November 1861. Delegates relied on the Virginia constitution but made significant reforms to address inequities that had long provoked Western Virginians. A second constitutional convention was later held in 1871.

Bastress will discuss how the new state’s framers chose the structure for its government.
Bastress is a scholar with the Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau, a program of the West Virginia Humanities Foundation, which has fully funded his presentation at WVSU.

Annual WVSU Constitution Day programs commemorate the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution, Sept. 17, 1787.

Dr. Billy Joe Peyton, program coordinator for History in the WVSU Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, said, “I think the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd would smile on us for combining West Virginia constitutional history with Constitution Day.”

In 2004 Byrd, the long-serving senator from West Virginia, authored legislation designating Sept. 17 of each year as Constitution Day and requiring public schools and governmental offices to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution.

Bastress’ discussion will be followed by a 20-minute film, “Creating a Constitution,” which examines the creation of the United States Constitution.

For more information, contact Billy Joe Peyton at (304) 766-3235 or peytonbj@wvstateu.edu.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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