“Incarceration: Intersections of Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Activism”
Tuesday, November 3: Otelia Cromwell Day
Ceremony and Keynote Address
“Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration”
by Dawn Porter, Attorney, founder of Trilogy Films, award-winning director/producer of Gideon’s Army
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall
- Interviewing for Documentary Features
Documentary filmmaking requires an enormous amount of trust between the subject and the interviewer. What interview techniques allow the filmmaker and the subject to connect? How is trust established? What are the ethical obligations of the filmmaker once the subject agrees to be interviewed? In this 90 minute hands on session, come prepared to interview and be interviewed. How does it feel to be on camera? How can the director establish a setting in which the subject feels it is safe to share personal stories?
Presenter: Dawn Porter, lawyer turned filmmaker, founder of Trilogy Films, is director/producer of Spies of Mississippi, which aired on Independent Lens in 2014, as well as, Gideon’s Army, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and won the Best Editing Award in the U.S. Documentary competition. Gideon’s Army aired on HBO in the summer of 2013 and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy. The film received numerous criminal justice awards including the Ridenhour Prize from the Nation Institute. As an alumnus of the Tribeca All Access program, Porter won the 2011 juried Creative Promise Award for Gideon’s Army. Realscreen named Porter one of their 2012 Doc Hot Shots 15 emerging directors to watch. Before becoming a filmmaker, she was Director of News Standards and Practices at ABC News, and Vice President of Standards and Practices at A&E Networks. Porter is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Georgetown University Law Center. She was a practicing attorney at Baker & Hostetler and ABC Television Networks before beginning her film career.
Neilson Browsing Room
- My Mothering Aunt
This workshop will focus on how Otelia Cromwell’s family, the issues defining education, and the Smith College environment before World War I affected the life and values of Otelia Cromwell 1900 as a person.
Presenter: Adelaide McGuinn Cromwell ’40 is Boston University Professor Emeritus and niece of Otelia Cromwell. She earned an A.B. degree in sociology from Smith College, a M.A. degree in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, a certificate in social work from Bryn Mawr College, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard’s Radcliffe College. She became the first African American instructor at Hunter College in New York and then at her alma mater, Smith College. As a professor of sociology at Boston University in 1951, she was a leading member of the committee that established Boston University’s African Studies Program and became its research associate in 1953. Cromwell initiated Boston University’s graduate program in Afro-American Studies in 1969 and served as its director until she retired. She is the author of several books on social stratification.
Earle Recital Hall
- Brick in a Soft Hat: Activist, Suffragist, Crusader, Martha Gruening 1909
As a 2013/14 Frankel Fellow (U. MI), NYC conceptual artist Susan C. Dessel researched the life and work of Smith College graduate Martha Gruening (1889-1937). Dessel will present an illustrated talk about Gruening: suffragist, lawyer, journalist, and civil rights and peace activist who founded a suffrage club at Smith and later served as a NAACP board member. Her still widely-read 1912 article "Two Suffrage Movements," linked the struggles for women's rights and African-American rights: “Here are not two issues at stake, but merely the vital principle of democracy…what all suffragists must understand, whatever their sex or color—[is] that all the disenfranchised of the earth have a common cause.” Gruening’s investigative article "Massacre in East St. Louis" about the 1917 East St. Louis, IL race riots provides readers today with an historical perspective on the unrest in Ferguson (MO), just thirteen and a half miles from East St. Louis.
Presenters: Susan C. Dessel, NYC visual artist, earned her MFA (2006 Brooklyn College, CUNY) after successful careers in the non-profit and corporate worlds. Dessel’s visual language often gives voice to Jewish women who have not been written into history. [desselstudio.net]; Lois Dubin is Professor of Religion at Smith College. She teaches a wide range of courses in Jewish thought and history, as well as ritual, religion, and feminism, and Jewish women’s history and spirituality. (An upcoming exhibit on Martha Gruening will be held in Nolen Art Lounge, Feb. 25–Mar. 7 in honor of Women’s History Month.)
Campus Center 103/104
- Advocates for Change
In the efforts to change incarceration, there is a broad continuum ranging from individual and local involvement to state programs to federal institutions and guidelines. This continuum is also reflected in the sub-title of the day's theme: Intersections of Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Activism. The panelists represent various points along the continuum and a variety of programs, and all are committed to improving the procedures and supports in place to help those in the criminal justice system.
Presenters: Dwight Hamilton, an attorney and Smith’s Chief Diversity Officer, will serve as moderator. Lucinda Brown ’73 has been a writer, graphic designer, spouse, mother and life-long learner. Through volunteer work she became interested in justice issues and, since 1995, has coordinated the Franklin County Reinventing Justice Project, a collaboration between court and community; Marianne Bullock AC ’12 is co-founder of the Prison Birth Project, an organization focused on reproductive justice working to provide education, support and advocacy to incarcerated girls, women, and mothers; Mary Quinn is a Sister of St. Joseph. She has worked as an educator, a therapist and an administrator. For 10 years she has worked for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department doing Restorative Justice and Reentry work. She holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Boston University. Freda Raitelu AC ’16 is the inaugural Steinem Initiative intern working on a collaboration with the Humanities Action Lab called "Global Dialogues on Incarceration." Freda is a history major with a focus on social movements, im/migration, mass incarceration, Black Diaspora, and Latin American Studies.
Neilson Browsing Room
- Social Justice Through Programming: Creating a Website
Smithies in CS, Smith College’s computer science club, is hosting an hour-long Learnathon. This is a socially conscious event for Smith College students and faculty in conjunction with Otelia Cromwell Day where teams will write programs that will make a positive difference in somebody's life. Members will teach participants how to make a basic website using web development tools such as HTML and CSS. Websites will follow a social-justice theme to both showcase newly-learned computer science programming skills and connect computer science with the goal of Otelia Cromwell Day—to raise awareness about issues of racism and diversity. The workshop is designed to increase participation in Otelia Cromwell Day by making this learnathon accessible to students and faculty of all majors. No prior programming background is necessary! Please bring your laptop if possible.
Presenters: Smithies in CS actively works on forming peer-to-peer networks of Smith students enthusiastic about computer science. The organization’s aim is to provide a means for students to communicate the presence of Smithies in CS and coordinate student-led initiatives related to computer science.
Campus Center 103/104
- Daughters of Author Charles Waddell Chesnutt Were Smith College’s First Black Students
This workshop permits insight into part of Smith’s rich multicultural heritage as participants join Ethel and Helen Chesnutt, class of 1901, and their novelist father, Charles Waddell Chesnutt, on their journey as Smith’s first black students and father. The celebration of Otelia Cromwell as Smith’s first black graduate, is a good time to remember that, though she sometimes mistakenly is said to be, she is not the institution’s first known black student. Cromwell was a transfer student who entered in 1898 and graduated in 1900, while the Chesnutt sisters spent their full four years at Smith, entering in 1897 and graduating in 1901. Topics covered are the Chesnutts’ background, including Charles’s works and Ethel and Helen as children; the context of black students in higher education during the sisters’ Smith years; Smith’s early history; letters the Chesnutts wrote to and from college; and Ethel and Helen’s accomplishments after Smith.
Presenter: Pamela E. Foster, M.S.J., ’85 is an award-winning journalism educator and writer of four black heritage books, including My Country and My Country, Too, the pioneering books on the history of black people in country music.
Campus Center 205
Contemplative Reflection and Discussion Space
A place to relax, unwind and think about the thematic issues raised by Otelia Cromwell Day in a welcoming and supportive environment. Snacks will be provided.
Bodman Lounge, Helen Hills Hills Chapel