History Dept. Bringing Reconstruction Expert to Chico State for Oct. 8 Cowden Memorial Lecture
CSU, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the Department of History’s 12th Annual Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture on Monday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall (Performing Arts Center 134) on the Chico State campus. The event is free and open to the public.
This year’s Cowden speaker is University of Maryland historian Michael Ross, a specialist in the Constitution and the Civil War era. Ross will address a key question of Reconstruction, that period just after the Civil War: Did the U.S. Supreme Court intentionally undermine African Americans’ rights in its pivotal Slaughter-House Cases decision of 1873?
“This decision is so important because of its impact on the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the pillars of the very African American-friendly Radical Reconstruction,” said Robert Tinkler, Department of History professor and coordinator of the Cowden lectures. “By narrowly interpreting the Amendment, the Court made it harder for the federal government to protect black Americans from discrimination by state governments.”
Although many scholars have blamed the Court for purposely harming African Americans with the decision, Professor Ross provides an intriguingly different interpretation, added Tinkler.
Professor Ross is well qualified to provide new insights into the decision, noted Tinkler, because he is an attorney, historian and author of a prize-winning biography of Samuel Freeman Miller, the Lincoln-appointed justice who penned the majority opinion in the Slaughter-House Cases.
Ross’s lecture will be provocative, enlightening, and even entertaining, Tinkler stated. “Fans of the Cowden Lecture will not be disappointed.”
The Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture was established by family, friends, colleagues, and students to honor the memory of Joanna Dunlap Cowden. During her twenty-five year career at CSU, Chico, Professor Cowden specialized in the antebellum and Civil War history of the United States. She served on numerous faculty committees and as Chair of the History Department. She was known for her dedication to advancing the life of the mind and high quality teaching. Shortly before her death on April 19, 2001, her book, Heaven Will Frown on Such a Cause as This: Six Democrats Who Opposed Lincoln’s War, was published.
For more information contact Tinkler at 898-5351.