2024 Conference

Presenters and Entertainers

Learn about this year’s guests.

Dr. AndrĂ© Churchwell graduated magna cum laude from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering in 1975; received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1979; was the first African American Chief Medical Resident at Grady Memorial Hospital from 1984-1985; and completed his internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at Emory School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Churchwell serves as a professor of medicine, radiology, biomedical engineering, and cardiology. In addition to various leadership roles, he previously served as VU’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, rising to the Chief Diversity Officer for VUMC and Senior Associate Dean for the School of Medicine. His current role is Senior Advisor to the Chancellor on Inclusion and Community Outreach.

Dr. Churchwell has received numerous awards, including the Walter R. Murray, Jr. Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Association of Black Alumni; Distinguished Alumnus Award for the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering (2010); Diamond Award from the Not Alone Foundation (2023); and the Professional Research Consultants’ Five-Star Excellence Award (in the top 10% nationally for “Excellent” Responses for Medical Services). His other accolades include being named in numerous national professional and healthcare publication lists, including “The Best Doctors in America” (2010-2013); Black Health Magazine‘s Top 15 Most Influential African American Health Educators (2014); Becker’s Hospital Review “Black Healthcare Leaders to Know” (2022-2023); and Modern Healthcare‘s Top 25 Diversity Leaders in Healthcare (2023). He was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2016 and has been named Associate Editor of Circulation.

Paula Blackman Iacampo is a sixth generation Nashvillian and the granddaughter of E. Galbreath Blackman, the sales and marketing executive at WLAC who launched the first national broadcast of what was then called “race music.” Paula is a Harper Collins published author. She spent fifteen years researching and writing Night Train to Nashville about WLAC’s legendary broadcast and its influence on popular culture.

Robbie D. Jones is Principal Senior Architectural Historian and Tennessee branch manager for Richard Grubb & Associates, a cultural resources management firm based in Cranberry, New Jersey. A seventh generation Tennessean, he holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in public history from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Mr. Jones has over thirty years of experience as an architectural historian for projects in twenty states. Since 2005, he has held numerous leadership roles in the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH), where he currently serves as the organization’s Treasurer and co-author of SAH Archipedia. Mr. Jones has presented scholarly papers throughout the country and published numerous articles, book chapters, and books about historic architecture, including the award-winning The Historic Architecture of Sevier County, Tennessee; Looking Beyond the Highway: Dixie Roads and Culture (University of Tennessee Press, 2006); and a study of Tennessee’s African American “Green Book” sites (MTSU, 2019).

Mr. Jones has worked on several National Park Service-funded projects, including a National Historic Landmark National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Birmingham Civil Rights Historic District; Boston’s Faneuil Hall; Tennessee’s Historic Preservation Plan (2019-2029); the African American Historic Context and Reconnaissance Survey of Frankfort, Kentucky; and The Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tennessee, 1942-1969, completed in December 2023. He has received ten professional awards from local, state, and national agencies, including the Metro Historical Commission’s 2022 Fletch Coke Preservation Award, which recognized his extensive contributions across the state and region.

Zachary Keith is the digital archivist at the Knox County Archives, having previously worked at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts degree in public history from Middle Tennessee State University.

Ms. Deni E. Lowe is the mother of twin girls and a native of Chicago, Illinois. She holds a master’s degree in education and bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tennessee State University. Ms. Lowe has worked in the information technologies sector for over twenty-three years and has been employed by International Business Machines (IBM) for over nineteen years. She is a member of the Nashville Chapter of Les Gemmes, Inc., serving as the Chapter chaplain. Ms. Lowe is also a member of the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a Deaconess at the Historic Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church and follows the motto, “Keep God first and put him ahead of everything you do.”

Dr. Rachel Louise Martin is a historian and writer whose work has appeared in outlets like The Atlantic and Oxford American. The author of Hot, Hot Chicken, a cultural history of Nashville hot chicken, and A Most Tolerant Little Town, the forgotten story of the first school to attempt court-mandated desegregation in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, she is especially interested in the politics of memory and the power of stories to illuminate why injustice persists in America today. A resident of Nashville, Dr. Martin earned a doctorate in women’s and gender history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Gerold Oliver is a Nashville native who has been acting for over 10 years. He is both excited and blessed to be part of the Nashville Conference on African American History & Culture. His portrayal of Perry Wallace in the theatrical performance of Strong Inside, adapted from Andrew Maraniss’ book Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race & Sports in the South, is the inspirational true story of an athlete turned civil-rights trailblazer. When “King of the Board” Perry Wallace is recruited and accepted to Vanderbilt University, his future not only changes, the country’s future changes as well. Wallace makes history as the first African American to play college basketball in the deeply Segregated Southeastern Conference. But how do you do something you love while surrounded by hate? This powerful world premiere, based on The New York Times’ bestseller, is a portrait of fortitude that shows how Wallace met unthinkable challenges head-on.

Sandra Martin Parham is a native Nashvillian and a product of the oldest Black high school in Nashville, Meigs High School, whose student body was merged into East High post-desegregation. She is an alumnus of East High (1972), Fisk University, and the University of Michigan, where she earned a degree in medical librarianship. Having lived in Nashville during the Civil Rights Movement, Ms. Parham retains vivid memories of events that now mark the timeline in our city’s history. “I remember when Black citizens boycotted stores downtown. I remember the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and North Nashville went up in a blaze. I also remember I-40 being run through our neighborhoods, as I was a member of the only Black church that was displaced in the construction, Jefferson Street Church of Christ.”

After a span of twenty years in Texas and fifteen years in California with positions of library deanships (where she always made archives the highest priority), Ms. Parham accepted a position at Meharry Medical College as Library Executive Director. “Little did I know that this position would allow me to delve so deeply into my passion for maintaining the archives of our people.”

Elliott Robinson is a Program Specialist in the Nashville Public Library’s Special Collections Division, home of the world-renowned Civil Rights Room, which shares stories of Nashville’s significant impact on the modern Civil Rights Movement in a beautiful, introspective space. Mr. Robinson joined the library in 2014 and considers himself a steward of the stories of those upon whose shoulders we now stand. He freely and genuinely shares with all who enter, whether they be students (2nd grade through graduate school), both local and from around the country, members of faith-and community-based organizations or corporations, even family reunions. His team uses the historical resources of the library’s Civil Rights Collection to craft and execute informative, thought-provoking engagements to fulfill the desired interests of participants, while also inviting them to consider such things as personal responsibility, citizenship, racial and social justice (and injustice), community activism, and hope; what they mean then, and what they mean in today’s America. Please reach out to him if you are interested in scheduling a FREE program at the Civil Rights Room: Elliott.Robinson@nashville.gov.

Tyrone L. Robinson’s works include the musical Show Way (with Jacqueline Woodson – The Kennedy Center), Strong Inside (adapted from The New York Times’ best-selling book Strong Inside: Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South by Andrew Maraniss – Nashville Children’s Theatre); Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream (with Nichole Jackson, adapted from the award-winning book by Crystal Hubbard – Children’s Theatre of Charlotte); and Un[H]armed, a short film inspired by the tragic 2018 shooting death of Stephon Clark and which was an official selection of film festivals nationwide. Additional commissions include TheatreWorks USA and First Stage Milwaukee (2021 AMPLIFY Series). His musical Show Way will have a national tour (produced by The Kennedy Center) in 2024. Robinson is a recipient of the ASCAP Frederick Loewe Award, an Off-Broadway Alliance Award nominee, Joseph Jefferson Award winner, and Evelyn Russell Layton Award winner. Mr. Robinson is a proud graduate of an HBCU, a frequent volunteer with BC/EFA and Broadway Serves. He earned an M.F.A. at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mr. Robinson has directed and co-directed numerous theatrical and film performances.

Profiles

Clark Memorial Methodist

First Community Church

The African American Journey on the Road to Attain Civil and Human Rights

The Centennial Year of American Baptist College

Updates for the Bass Street Community at Fort Negley Park

The 2024 NCAAHC Planning Committee

  • Co-Founder & Co-Chair Linda T. Wynn, Tennessee Historical Commission/formerly with Fisk University Department of History and Political Science
  • Co-Chair Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr., Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Joel Dark, Tennessee State University
  • Caroline Eller, Metropolitan Historical Commission
  • Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, Tennessee State University
  • Gloria McKissack, Tennessee State University (ret.)
  • Fletcher Moon, Tennessee State University (ret.)
  • Jamaal B. Sheats, Fisk University
  • Sharon Hull Smith, Tennessee State University
  • W. Tim Walker, Executive Director, Metropolitan Historical Commission

Financial Supporters

Frierson Foundation

Metro Historical Commission Foundation

Spruce Street Baptist Church

Tennessee Historical Society

TSU Friends of the Library