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.
News & Events
Princeton University, 3/29/21
In September 2020, the Trustees of Princeton University convened the Ad Hoc Committee on Principles to Govern Renaming and Changes to Campus Iconography.
Journal of American History, December 2020
"Of all the available examples, the Princeton & Slavery web site offers far and away the most well-developed and best organized of these digital treatments."
The New York Times, 11/6/17
Princeton University has a long history connected to slavery, which has remained hidden until now.
Betsey Stockton (1798?-1865), enslaved as a child in the household of Princeton president Ashbel Green, became a prominent and respected educator in Princeton, Philadelphia, and the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawai'i).
Princeton's Slaveholding Presidents
Princeton’s first nine presidents all owned slaves at some point in their lives. Though widely considered to be forward-thinking religious, intellectual, and political leaders in the 18th and 19th centuries, they failed to align their practices with their ideals—embodying the tensions between liberty and slavery that characterized American life from the colonial period to the Civil War.
Destiny Salter (Class of 2020)
A Princeton & Slavery Oral History by Christo Ritter (Class of 2020), produced in conjunction with the freshman seminar Princeton, Slavery and Historical Memory (Fall 2016).
"A Visit to the Colored People of Princeton"
Ann Maria Davison, a visitor from New Orleans, provided a detailed picture of Princeton's black community in 1855.