WHEELING, W.Va. The public is invited to West Virginia Independence Hall on Thursday, June 13, 2013, to hear retired law professor Forest Jackson “Jack” Bowman explain the legal reasoning and sense of political legitimacy and fairness that led President Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation and legislation creating the state of West Virginia.

Bowman, a law professor emeritus at West Virginia University, will show how emancipation of the slaves and West Virginia’s statehood were related in their political and historical significance. These decisions were not easy for Lincoln and both carried grave political risks.

Bowman, a former captain in the U.S. Army and WVU graduate, is an avid student of history with a particular interest in the Civil War. He retired from WVU in 2002 after serving 23 years as a law professor.

Bowman’s lecture is part of Independence Hall’s speaker series to commemorate West Virginia’s 150th birthday on June 20, 2013. The 7 p.m. program is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. 

For more information, contact Travis Henline, site manager at WVIH, at (304) 238-1300.

West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

– 30 –