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Please Join Us for Otelia Cromwell Day

November 2, 2015

​Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Tomorrow, November 3, 2015, we will come together as a community to celebrate and honor the legacy of Otelia Cromwell Day. Afternoon classes will be canceled, and I encourage students, faculty and staff to attend the ceremony and keynote address at 1 p.m. in Sage Hall as well as the afternoon workshop program. Managers are asked to allow staff to attend if operationally feasible.

The day provides an opportunity for the Smith community to reflect on the life and legacy of Otelia Cromwell, who, in 1900, became the first African American graduate of Smith. The college established Otelia Cromwell Day in 1989 as an opportunity to explore issues of race, social justice and equality. While these are themes addressed across the curriculum and throughout the academic year, Otelia Cromwell Day offers us a chance to work together, deeply and as one community.

This year's theme is “Incarceration: Intersections of Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Activism” and the keynote address, “Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” will be given by filmmaker Dawn Porter. Porter practiced as an attorney before founding Trilogy Films, a documentary production company. She directed and produced “Gideon's Army,” an award-winning 2013 documentary about three public defenders in the Deep South. In 2014, her film on the state-sponsored campaign to derail the civil rights movement, “Spies of Mississippi,” was released.

Following Dawn Porter’s keynote address, Smith College will host the following workshops:

  • Interviewing for Documentary Features
  • My Mothering Aunt, a talk by Adelaide McGuinn Cromwell ’40
  • Brick in a Soft Hat: Activist, Suffragist, Crusader, Martha Gruening 1909
  • Advocates for Change
  • Social Justice Through Programming: Creating a Website
  • Daughters of Author Charles Waddell Chesnutt Were Smith College’s First Black Students

I encourage all of you to visit the Otelia Cromwell Day website to learn how you can participate in all of the day’s panels and events.

I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow.