Huebner to highlight Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture

Delta State’s Division of Social Sciences and History is gearing up for the 17th annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture on April 3 at 7 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

Tim Huebner of Rhodes College is this year’s special guest speaker and will be discussing Chief Justice Roger Taney’s impact on the Civil War and emancipation.  His talk is titled “The Unjust Judge: Roger B. Taney, the Slave Power and the Meaning of Emancipation.”

“As emancipation unfolded in the wartime Union, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s decision in the Dred Scott case of 1857 always lurked in the background. But soon Taney himself became the issue,” said Huebner, while describing his lecture. “More than anyone else, the Chief Justice personified the Slave Power and the hold that it had once had over the national government. Taney’s death in 1864 prompted the publication of articles and pamphlets that vilified the Chief Justice, thus offering a glimpse of how northerners at the time thought about the meaning of emancipation and the Civil War.”

Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history at Delta State, is thrilled to bring Huebner’s expertise to campus. The lecture series, established to commemorate the life and work of Delta State history professor Sammy O. Cranford, is free and open to the general public, as is the reception following.

“The Cranford Lecture gives our division and university the opportunity to remember one of the truly influential faculty members in Delta State’s long history,” said Westmoreland. “Dr. Sammy O. Cranford was an outstanding classroom teacher and scholar who shaped many students’ lives. Furthermore, he developed the Delta State Archives as a critical site for research on the university and this region.

“Bringing in top-notch speakers like Dr. Timothy Huebner has been, for 17 years, the university’s way of honoring Cranford’s legacy. His lecture on Roger Taney will bring valuable insights into the debates over race, slavery and freedom in the American republic, which is especially timely for Delta State.

“With our campus being just a couple of weeks removed from the Winning the Race conference, the Cranford Lecture presents another important chance to learn about our nation’s complicated racial history and continue our ongoing dialogue on race and diversity. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Huebner to campus for another great Cranford Lecture.”

Huebner, history chair at Rhodes, has taught a variety of courses dealing with the American South and the United States Constitution. Additionally, he specializes in law and justice in the South, Abraham Lincoln and the Supreme Court in United States history.

Currently, he is writing an interpretative synthesis of the American Civil War and reconstruction that focuses on the constitutional and political history of the period, under contract with the University Press of Kansas.

For more information on the Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture, contact Westmoreland at Previous lecturers include: 1998, John Marzalek; 1999, John Ray Skates; 2000, James Cobb; 2001, Martha Swain; 2002, Lawrence Nelson; 2003, Nan Woodruff; 2004, David Sansing; 2005, Charles Reagan Wilson; 2006, James Hollandsworth; 2007, Elbert Hilliard; 2008, Larry Griffin; 2009,William LaForge; 2010, Chris Myers Asch; 2011, Charles Eagles; 2012, George Rable; and 2013, Jeannie Whayne.

Those interested in following news related to the History Department at Delta State are encouraged to like the program’s Facebook page at

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