He's well liked in WV because he's one of our own. He was raised in a small coal mining town by coal miners (and btw, he was born in NC), he went to local colleges. He came from humble roots, like just about everyone in WV does, and that was certainly part of his appeal. Yes, he was in the KKK in his younger years, but I applaud his candor about that time. He made a mistake and he came to understand and acknowledge that. Who here hasn't changed their views over the years?
As for the naming of roads, etc... yeah, there's a lot of **** named after him. And no, the "people" of WV don't do the naming, but our elected officials do. The people CAN recommend names and have.In 1997, he told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics, but to "Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don't get that albatross around your neck. Once you've made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena." In his latest autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions." Byrd also said, in 2005, “ I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened. ”
— Robert C. Byrd