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Harvard's Lani Guinier to Deliver Otelia Cromwell Day Keynote

As the nation heads to the polls on Tuesday, November 2, in what is expected to be an unusually high rate of voter participation, Smith College’s annual Otelia Cromwell Day will examine civic engagement and involvement in the processes of democracy, with particular focus on the concept of inclusion.

“Politics, Participation, Power: The Challenges and Possibilities of Democracy and Diversity” is the title of this year’s semester-long series of events, which centers around a keynote talk by Lani Guinier, an African American professor of law at Harvard Law School and a renowned authority on contemporary politics.

Guinier, the first black woman tenured professor in Harvard Law School's history, will speak on "Race, Exclusion and Political Elections."

Also as part of the series, on Saturday, October 30, renowned African-American vocalist Kevin Maynor, an operatic bass, will headline a concert with the premieres of works by composers Jack Beeson, of Columbia University, and Pulitzer Prize-winner George Walker, a former Smith faculty member, at 8 p.m. in Sage Hall.

And on Saturday, November 6, The theatre department will present a play reading of Archangels of Funk, a new musical work by Andrea Hairston, professor of theatre, that was a finalist for the 2003 Heideman Award, at 8 p.m. in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre, Mendenhall CPA.

Otelia Cromwell Day is an annual event named for the first known African-American to graduate from Smith. Cromwell, who graduated in 1900, eventually became a professor and chair of the English Language and Literature Department at Miner Teachers College in Washington, D.C. The author of three books and many articles, Cromwell received an honorary degree from Smith in 1950.

A day was established in Cromwell’s honor to provide the college community with an opportunity for further education and reflection about issues of diversity and racism.

This year’s series began on September 18 with a lecture on gender and politics by Carol Moseley-Braun, the popular former U.S. senator and a Democratic presidential candidate.

On October 13, Paul Frymer, author of “Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America,” delivered a lecture on race and the 2004 election.

For more information, consult



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