William M. Drennen, Jr. of Charleston, West Virginia earned his B.A. in architecture at Yale University, his M.A. in humanities at West Virginia Graduate College, and has taken MBA courses in finance and marketing at George Washington University. He has taught various courses in history and race relations at West Virginia State College. From July 1989 to April 1997, Mr. Drennen served as Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. He has a background in communications, film-making, and business management.
Mr. Drennen has been interested in issues of race in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia and tracing his ancestry. Red, White, Black, and Blue is the story of his growing up in the age of integration in Charleston along with his co-author and longtime friend, Bill “Kojo” Jones. The book examines events from the viewpoints of two friends who are of different races and social classes.
Mr. Drennen has won awards for film-making in West Virginia and Washington, DC, awards for historic preservation for rehabilitation projects in downtown Charleston, and awards from the National and local United Way for radio and television promotional material. He hosted the television series entitled Cultural Conversations which was produced by the West Virginia Library Commission. Over the course of five years, he interviewed forty-two individuals including Pare Lorentz, Mary Lee Settle, Denise Giardina, and Rachael Worby. Mr. Drennen has been involved in numerous community activities including the West Virginia History Film Project, West Virginia International Film Festival, West Virginia Youth Soccer Association, Sunrise Museums, and United Way of Kanawha Valley. He was awarded a Bronze Star with combat “V” for his service in Vietnam.