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Smith Libraries Exhibits

Cromwell Day

Brochure for the Otelia Cromwell Symposium on Racism, Smith College, 9 November 1989.


During much of the 1980s and 1990s the BSA spent time responding to racist and homophobic incidents that occurred on campus. Notes, letters, and graffiti appeared on doors, walls, in mailboxes, and on steps of buildings at Smith. The spring of 1989 was a particularly painful one when racist notes were received by students, faculty, and staff. An external investigation never revealed the writer and left the Smith community to deal with the aftermath the notes created. The first Otelia Cromwell Symposium on Racism was held in the fall of 1989, in part, as a response to the events of that spring. In 2020 the College changed the name to honor both Otelia Cromwell, and her niece, Adelaide Cromwell, class of 1940, the first Black faculty member. Both women were symbols of academic excellence throughout their lifetimes.