Next week marks the 150th birthday of West Virginia.

As part of the Sesquicentennial celebration hosted by the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission June 20-23, Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Eberly Family Professor of Civil War History at West Virginia University, will present “West Virginia Statehood and the Union.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. June 21, in the Archives and History Library at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, W.Va.

While West Virginia’s statehood is a frequent topic of debate, Sheehan-Dean’s talk will explore the various perceptions of West Virginia’s alliance with the Union during the Civil War.

“We know the difference statehood made in terms of strategy and the northern war effort but we also need to how northerners understood what it meant to make a new loyal state out of an existing, disloyal slave state,” Sheehan-Dean said.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is the author of “Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia,” the “Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War,” and the editor of several books. He teaches courses on 19th-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History.

His talk is part of Eberly Ideas, a unique forum that promotes the exchange of ideas and simulating debate while highlighting the timely research of some of the Eberly College’s all-star faculty.

To learn more about sesquicentennial celebration events, visit

For more information, contact WV Sesquicentennial Commission Executive Director Chelsea Ruby, at 304-558-3176 or


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