Cumberland University to Host Second Cynthia Van Buren Lecture Series

Cynthia Van Buren Lecture

Dr. Maria Esther Hammack will give the inaugural Cynthia Van Buren Lecture at Cumberland University’s Alumni Hall on Monday, February 6, at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Hammack, who received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas, is the Barra Postdoctoral Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. She is a public historian whose work, through a gender lens, bridges the histories of liberation and abolition in North America and the Black Diaspora in Mexico. 

Her first book, “Channels of Liberation: Freedom Fighters South of Slavery,” reexamines the Underground Railroad to reconsider & broaden the actors, timelines and geographies of Black Liberation in North America and the transnational experiences of Black Americans who left the United States to claim freedom in Mexican spaces.

The lecture series is named in honor of the late Cynthia Van Buren, a Palm Beach, Florida, philanthropist who bequeathed a $100,000 gift to the Papers of Martin Van Buren presidential papers project upon her death in 2020.

“Dr. Hammack is a rising star in the historical profession, and we are delighted that she will help us continue to honor Cynthia’s legacy,” said Project Director Dr. Mark Cheathem.

The Papers of Martin Van Buren is making accessible approximately 13,000 documents written by or sent to the eighth president at the project website, The project is sponsored by Cumberland University, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is produced in partnership with the Center for Digital Editing at the University of Virginia.

News / History, The Millard and J.J. Oakley School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts / Cumberland University to Host Second Cynthia Van Buren Lecture Series