CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Retired Major General Joseph E. Turner will present “African American Life: A Personal Perspective” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, on Thursday, May 26. The program, which is the first of the 2016 The Block Speakers Series, begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Turner is a native of Charleston and son of the late Sargent Joseph Turner and Annetta Ellis. He attended Boyd Elementary and Junior High schools and graduated from Garnet High School. He earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from West Virginia State College.

Beginning his military career in 1961 as a second lieutenant commissioned in the Signal Corps through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Turner held many command and staff positions prior to his assignment as the commander of the 335th Theater Signal Command. He served two combat duties in Vietnam, the first tour as an aviator, 17th Aviation Company, and the second as commander, HHC, 210th Combat Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade, in Long Thanh, South Vietnam.

Turner received many awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal, and the Air Medal (with ten oak leaf clusters).

In his civilian life, Turner was a commerical airline pilot for Delta Airlines flying the Los Angeles, Calif./Honolulu, Hawaii route. He is married to the former Norma Sims, and they have three sons and eight grandchildren.

“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.

Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5:30 p.m. on May 26 and enter the building at the back loading dock area. The new bus turnaround is open, and handicapped spots are available there. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building.

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.