Historian to present program in Charleston
CHARLESTON -- At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, Kevin T. Barksdale will present "From Lost State to Mountain State: The State of Franklin and the Constitutionality of West Virginia Statehood" in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program is free and open to the public.
In 1784, the political leaders of what would become eastern Tennessee (then part of the state of North Carolina) initiated an effort to create America's 14th state. Naming their new state after venerable statesmen Benjamin Franklin, the leaders of Franklin engaged in a four-year struggle to gain admission into the Union while battling the region's Native American communities and a determined internal opposition party.
During Franklin's tumultuous four-year existence, the leadership managed to erect a state government, judicial system and militia. The Franklinites also drafted a new state constitution and launched a determined campaign to win public and political support for their state. Despite their efforts, the state of Franklin ultimately collapsed in early 1788, but not before leaving behind a constitutional legacy that would play a central role in the creation of the state of West Virginia in 1863. Barksdale will explore the history of the state of Franklin and its impact on the drafting on the United States Constitution and the creation of the Mountain State nearly 80 years later.
Barksdale is an associate professor of history at Marshall University where he teaches courses on West Virginia, Appalachian and 18th-century American history. He has published a book on the state of Franklin called "The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession" (2008) and is currently working on a project that explores the history of the decade following the American Revolution in the lower Mississippi Valley.
On Tuesday, the library will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m. for participants only. For additional information, call 304-558-0230.
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