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Back in the Day

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In the spring of 1967, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., beat poet Allen Ginsberg, segregation supporter and senator Strom Thurmond, and black power advocate Stokely Carmichael were among the speakers at IMPACT ’67, a student-run symposium. Carmichael’s visit proved to be the most controversial. Before he arrived, the Tennessee state legislature and American Legion condemned his views, the Nashville Banner ran stories opposing him, and then-Chancellor Heard was counseled to overrule the students and rescind Carmichael’s invitation (he didn’t). While Carmichael’s Vanderbilt appearance was calm, the militant leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee also spoke at Fisk University and was blamed when race riots broke out in Nashville that weekend. 

The highly regarded IMPACT Symposium has featured a long history of illustrious speakers since it began in 1964. It continues to draw speakers annually to discuss current events and topics of a controversial nature.

All images are reproduced courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections and Archives.

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