The West Virginia Humanities Council established the Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau in 2011 to help organizations around the state strengthen their programs. In observance of the 150th anniversary of West Virginia statehood in 2013, the Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau is focusing on topics related to the circumstances and processes surrounding the formation of the state in 1863.
Five speakers, including West Virginia Historian Laureate Ronald L. Lewis, will be available for three presentations each through Oct. 31, 2013. The Humanities Council pays the fees and expenses of the speakers and provides promotional assistance for each program. Host groups are expected to provide an audience of at least forty people for a presentation.
Speakers are available to nonprofit groups including historical societies and sites, museums, colleges, libraries, reenactment events, and other community organizations. All programs must be publicized and free to the public. Requests for speakers should be received no later than the 10th of the month prior to the presentation month, for example May 10 for a June 20 presentation. Advance scheduling is advised.
The speakers and their topics for 2013:
-- Robert Bastress of the West Virginia University College of Law — “The Making of the West Virginia Constitutions, 1861-1872”
-- Matthew Foulds of Shepherd University — “Enemies of the State: Methodists, Secession, and the Civil War in Western Virginia”
-- Joe Geiger, director of the West Virginia State Archives — “The 35th Star: West Virginia Statehood”
-- David Javersak of West Liberty University — “Species of Legal Fiction: The Wheeling Conventions”
-- Ronald L. Lewis, West Virginia Historian Laureate — “The Revolution that Forged a State”
Groups interested in scheduling a speaker should contact Humanities Council program officer Mark Payne at 304-346-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.