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 has joined the growing list of towns that have endorsed proposed legislation to establish a state-level task force to study making reparations to African Americans living in New Jersey who are the descendants of slaves.
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."
What Princeton Owes to Firestone’s Exploitation of Liberia
Forced labor in Liberia built the Firestone fortune—and transformed Princeton. The story of Firestone, Liberia, and Princeton reveals how racist exploitation entangled and enriched Nassau Hall in the century that followed the U.S. Civil War.
Princeton and the Colonization Movement
Founded and supported by 19th-century Princeton alumni, the American Colonization Society promoted the repatriation of freed slaves to a colony in Africa. Ultimately, however, colonization was more of an intellectual movement for moderately antislavery whites than a practical option for free Black people.
Facing Slavery: Princeton Family Stories
Facing Slavery: Princeton Family Stories is a 55 minute documentary written and edited by Melvin McCray (Class of 1974) and produced by McCray and Martha A. Sandweiss on the occasion of the Princeton & Slavery Project symposium in November 2017.
Estate Inventory of John Maclean Sr.
Inventory from the estate of John Maclean Sr., listing two slaves, a "Negro Girl Sal" and "Negro Boy Charles."