Cecelia Mason Published

West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood


June 20, 2013 · West Virginia is the only state in the Union that was created as a direct result of the Civil War. When war broke out in 1861 and Virginia seceded from the Union, some living in that state’s western regions saw it as an opportunity to break away and create a new state.

West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood is a one hour documentary on the sesquicentennial of West Virginia’s birthday that explores the state’s rich cultural diversity and how the state’s history and other characteristics shaped today’s West Virginians. It also tried to answer the question “what does it mean to be a West Virginian?”

We explore how West Virginia’s mountainous terrain, the isolation found in many parts of the state, and the fact that outsiders have traditionally owned and managed the natural resources have impacted the people who live here.

Many early settlers were of German, Irish and Scots-Irish descent, but throughout its 150 year history the state has been home to notable African American’s. European recruitment by the coal and chemical companies brought workers from faraway places Italy, Poland and Spain. Many communities were historically home to Jewish and Lebanese Americans.

The presence of all these ethnic groups no doubt shaped the personality, attitudes and traditions of modern-day West Virginians.