About the Project
Princeton University, founded as the College of New Jersey in 1746, exemplifies the central paradox of American history. From the start, liberty and slavery were intertwined. The Princeton & Slavery Project investigates the University’s involvement with the institution of slavery and ongoing legacies of institutional racism. We invite you to explore the many stories and sources included here and to contact us with research, stories, and ideas of your own.
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News & Events
The New York Times, 5/12/20
Nicholas Johnson, who was named valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020, called the achievement especially significant, given the school’s struggle in recent years to confront its troubled history with slavery.
The Washington Post, 8/24/19
Aaron Burr Jr., third Vice President of the United States and son of Princeton president Aaron Burr Sr., fathered two children with a woman of color who worked as a servant in his home for several years.
The New York Times, 11/6/17
Princeton University has a long history connected to slavery, which has remained hidden until now.
Slavery at the President's House
At least five Princeton presidents who served between 1756 and 1822 owned enslaved people who lived, worked—and on one occasion were auctioned off—at the President’s House on campus. During this period, the President’s House was the center of slavery at Princeton.
Joseph Henry and Sam Parker
Joseph Henry spent fourteen years at the College of New Jersey, serving as Chair of Natural History between 1832 and 1846. Sam Parker, his assistant, was a free black man.
Historical Campus Landscape
An interactive map of the Princeton campus, highlighting major buildings and memorials and their relationship to slavery.
“An Open Letter to the Students of Princeton”
Letter from Andrew Hatcher, a black Princeton resident, regarding the debates over integration on campus.