CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Archives and History will present two lectures in August in its library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The programs, titled “Emancipation and Statehood in West Virginia” and “African American Life: A Personal Perspective,” begin at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, Michael Woods will discuss emancipation and statehood. In the fall and winter of 1862-63, President Lincoln provided a catalyst that turned the Civil War into a revolution by issuing the preliminary and final versions of the Emancipation Proclamation. Woods will present the origin, development and effects of the two-part proclamation, paying particular attention to West Virginia – then in the throes of a statehood fight – and put them in the broader story. Shrouded in myths and half-truths, the  Emancipation Proclamation’s true significance and limitations become clearer by considering the relationship of the Mountain State to the politics of slavery and war.

Woods is assistant professor of history at Marshall University, teaching courses on United States history, the Civil War era and the U.S. South. He obtained his bachelor’s degree at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., and his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. He is the author of Emotional and Sectional Conflict in the Antebellum United States, published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. Woods has published articles in the Journal of Social History and  the Journal of American History.

On Thursday, Aug. 27,Richard H. Payne will present the third lecture in The Block Speakers Series, “African-American Life: A Personal Perspective.” Payne graduated from Garnet High School in Charleston in 1954. He also attended West Virginia State College, West Virginia University, Indiana University of Bloomington, Ind., and Marshall University. Payne is a leading equal opportunity specialist with more than 40 years experience. He served as the principal on-site Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity civil rights official. It was his responsibility, in cooperation with the director of the Pittsburgh Field Office, to enforce the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws to reduce the level of housing discrimination. He also worked to promote economic opportunity by providing technical assistance and conducting reviews of public housing authorities.

Payne was instrumental in the establishment of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, the Charleston Human Rights Commission, the Huntington Human Rights Commission and the Monroeville, Pa. Human Relations Commission. He is a life member and former president of the Charleston Branch of the NAACP, the West Virginia NAACP youth advisor, and a co-founder and former president of UNION, a civil rights organization made up of 35 independent organizations under the umbrella of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headed by Martin Luther King Jr.

“The Block” was once considered the heart of Charleston’s black community. It comprised a 25-acre area bounded by Washington Street East, Capitol Street, Smith Street and Sentz Court.

For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

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.