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News Release

March 18, 2014

OHIO faculty member, two students named as panelists for Feb. 20 Soledad O’Brien event 

Dr. Arthur Cromwell, an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies and director of the Honors Tutorial Program in that area at Ohio University, along with Seaira Christian-Daniels and Tessa Scott, both seniors at Ohio University, have been named panelists in the “Soledad O’Brien Presents Black in America” event slated for 5 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 20.

Cromwell, who has more than 35 years of experience in the public broadcasting industry and joined the OHIO faculty in the ’90s, says the event will shed light on a section of African Americans who are sometimes overlooked: those who grow up, work and live in Appalachia.

“It’s always important to understand the complexities and the multiplicities of the African American experience,” said Cromwell. “I don’t really know if we appreciate the African American experience. I’m an African American with Appalachian experience. Growing up, I didn’t know others existed. None of us have properly articulated our experience and our history.”

Cromwell said he hopes O’Brien finds this stop in the tour eye opening. “If anything, I hope her trip to Athens leaves her jaw dropping. Once you start to experience and meet people, you learn a new facet of the conversation.”

The event, part of a national tour, will feature a presentation from O’Brien followed by a panel discussion that will include audience interaction. Sponsored by the Scripps College of Communication, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the School of Communication Studies, the town-hall event is free and open to the public. The stop in Athens is the only planned tour event in Ohio.

Christian-Daniels is a senior in the Honors Tutorial College majoring in journalism and seeking a certificate in Spanish. She was honored to be asked to participate in the panel.

“I’m extremely honored to be selected for this panel, especially among the likes of someone like Soledad O’Brien,” she said. “I’m excited to express myself and my heritage, my love for my country and my race.

Scott, a senior majoring in Communication Studies and seeking a certificate in political science, shares that sentiment.

“It’s an honor to be selected,” Scott said. “Being black in America is a topic that needs to be discussed, especially on this campus.”

The tour is an extension of O’Brien’s “Black in America” series, which premiered on CNN in 2008 as a multi-part series of documentaries covering issues, challenges and culture of African Americans across the country.

A public reception will be held following the event at 7 p.m. in the Multi-purpose Room of the Multicultural Center on the second floor of Baker University Center.

Additional sponsors include Ohio University’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the Department of African American Studies, the Office of Multicultural Programs and the Multicultural Center. The reception is cosponsored by the Campus Involvement Center and the Black Student Cultural Programming Board.


Contact: Erin Roberts, external relations coordinator, at 740-593-0030 or

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