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 and Slavery Project investigates the University’s involvement with the institution of slavery. 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, 11/6/17
Princeton University has a long history connected to slavery, which has remained hidden until now.
Princeton Alumni Weekly, 3/20/19
Emily Mann, playwright and artistic director, discusses her nearly three decades at the helm of McCarter Theatre Center as well as collaborations with Princeton University and the Princeton & Slavery Project.
Many Princeton students and others pass through the two arches and courtyard of East Pyne Hall daily, but on Monday afternoon foot traffic — and time — stopped for a special public ceremony to honor James Collins Johnson, a former enslaved man who worked on campus for more than 60 years until his death in 1902.
Betsey Stockton (1798?-1865), a former slave of Princeton president Ashbel Green, became a prominent and respected educator in Princeton, Philadelphia, and the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii).
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.
The Princeton & Slavery Plays, Part II: The Torch
Interviews and clips from "The Torch," by Nathan Alan Davis, which premiered at the McCarter Theatre in November 2017 as part of the Princeton & Slavery Project Symposium.
Two Women, a Man, and Three Children
An advertisement announcing the estate sale of President Samuel Finley, held at the President's House on campus.