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.
News & Events
The New York Times, 11/6/17
Princeton University has a long history connected to slavery, which has remained hidden until now.
The Atlantic, 11/9/17
A new sculpture project thoughtfully grapples with the university’s historical participation in slavery.
The New York Times, 4/17/18
Five months after the release of sweeping research into its deep historical connections with slavery Princeton University announced on Tuesday that it would name two prominent spaces in honor of enslaved people who lived or worked on its campus.
A new walking tour offers the opportunity to learn about the personal experiences of African Americans who lived, worked and studied at Princeton. “Stories of African American Life at Princeton” is the first of an eventual series of historical walking tours of campus.
New efforts at one of the nation’s oldest elite universities to embrace and reveal its complicated past and become more welcoming to an increasingly diverse student body.
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).
The Riot of 1846
In June 1846, more than a dozen Southern students mobbed, whipped, and nearly killed an African American man in Princeton—but only after fighting off another group of classmates who opposed them. This brief flashpoint of violence, in which Princeton students came to blows after dividing along regional lines, revealed the tensions over race and slavery present even at a college known for its moderate conservatism.
The Princeton & Slavery Plays, Part I: Under the Liberty Trees
Interviews and clips from "Under the Liberty Trees," by Emily Mann, which premiered at the McCarter Theatre in November 2017 as part of the Princeton & Slavery Project Symposium.
James C. Johnson with goods for sale
Photograph of former slave James Collins Johnson vending his wares on campus.