By Jody Brumage
The New River is one of West Virginia’s most widely-known natural landmarks, thanks to its status as a National River and its iconic bridge, the third longest single-span arch in the world. One of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River flows from North Carolina northwest into Virginia and West Virginia where is eventually becomes the Kanawha. When Congress passed legislation to bring the New River under federal protection in 1978, Senator Byrd wrote to President Carter, saying that a “national river designation would make West Virginia the home of a fine new national recreation area. Visitors from other states would be welcomed to share with us the excitement and pleasures of one of America’s oldest natural wonders – The New River Gorge.”
Throughout his career, Senator Byrd urged his constituents and all Americans to learn about the history of the United States. Believing that an informed electorate was essential to the continuance of representative democracy, Senator Byrd encouraged programs such as "Teaching American History" and Constitution Day which provided funding and annual observances on which to reflect on the evolution of our country. Senator Byrd also wrote extensively on the history of the United States, both in his published books and in his weekly newspaper column.
Beginning in his first term in the United States Senate, Senator Byrd wrote a weekly column entitled Byrd's-Eye View. Printed in newspapers across West Virginia, the column became one of the most direct methods of communicating between Senator Byrd and his constituents. While many of the columns offer his perspective on significant legislative efforts or updates on projects around the state, Senator Byrd occasionally used the column to speak on a broader level. As our national celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, we are sharing some of those Byrd's-Eye View columns in which Senator Byrd reflected on the legacy this momentous occasion.
Senator Byrd delivers a speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in July 1987 during the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. On the rostrum behind him are (left to right) Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, Speaker of the House Jim Wright, and House Majority Whip Tony Coelho.
By Jody Brumage
This is the second in a two-part series of blogs on Senator Robert C. Byrd and Congressman Harley O. Staggers' efforts to save passenger rail service in West Virginia in the 1970s. To read the part one, click here.
By Jody Brumage
In this first blog of a two-part series, we are examining how West Virginia’s senators and congressmen worked to save passenger rail service through the state in the 1970s and 80s.
By Ray Smock
I was honored to attend a wonderful reception on April 28 at the historic Anderson House in DC, in celebration of the completion of a great landmark in documentary editing and congressional scholarship, the 22-volume series on the First Federal Congress. This project, housed at George Washington University and published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, has been the life-long work of the chief editor, my dear friend of many years, Charlene Bickford. Along with her fabulous colleagues Ken Bowling, Helen Veit, and Chuck diGiacomantonio , all top professional editors and historians, this magnificent project collected, researched, edited, and annotated the full record of the First Federal Congress that met from 1789 to 1791. It was the Congress that launched our government and turned the words of the U.S. Constitution into the reality of a working government.
Ms. Welch is a board member of the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, and the Scarborough Society, which helps support the Shepherd University Library. She is also the co-founder and coordinator of the Shepherdstown Film Society. She and her husband Paul were recipients of the President’s Award in 2015 for their outstanding support of Shepherd University and the community.
Welcome to the Byrd Center Blog! We share content here including research from our archival collections, articles from our director, and information on upcoming events.