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Vanderbilt professor announced as keynote speaker for Crossroads history symposium

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Dr. David Ikard

Dr. David Ikard is a professor of African American and Diaspora studies at Vanderbilt.

The Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation has announced Vanderbilt Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies Dr. David Ikard as the keynote speaker for the two-day history symposium starting Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. 

The history symposium, titled “Crossroads: Reconsidering Native Americans and African Americans in Tennessee and the South,” is an educational initiative developed with an interdisciplinary approach to the longstanding interrelationships between Native Americans and African Americans and their ties to Franklin, Tennessee and the South. The symposiumwill address the often overlooked interrelationships connecting Native Americans and African Americans to provide attendees a greater understanding of why American Indian Removal, the Civil War, Reconstruction, citizenship, land ownership, race and gender remains relevant in today's modern world.  

“We are honored to welcome Vanderbilt Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies Dr. David Ikard to the historic hall,” Executive Director Rachael Finch said. “Dr. Ikard will bring a riveting and thought-provoking talk that will empower, engage and inspire attendees to think about how we view our collective history. 

“At the hall, we take a holistic approach to interpreting history and culture – through candid conversations – on how we discuss freedom, equality and justice. Without a greater understanding of recognizing the complexities surrounding slavery, removal, citizenship, land ownership and their lasting impacts, we may never fully comprehend the deeply rooted establishment of our nation. An essential component is to engage with these legacies and create a space that helps us interpret our complete history in real ways.”

Ikard is the author of four books and scholarly awards. His essays have appeared in “African American Review,” “MELUS, Palimpsest,” “African and Black Diaspora Journal,” “The Journal of Black Studies,” and “Obsidian III.” 

In 2015, he received the William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award from the Florida Education Fund and the McKnight Fellows for his dedication and commitment to mentoring graduate students. Ikard is a Ford Fellow and a faculty mentor for the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and is a nationally recognized TEDxTalk speaker, most recently on interpreting black history for TEDxNashville. 

Individual tickets for the keynote event at the historic Hall on Friday, Sept. 13 are $20. Two-day symposium ticket holders receive the keynote event for free. Tickets for the keynote event and additional ticket options for the symposium are available at  

For additional information, contact Finch at

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