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.
Follow the conversation on social media with #PrincetonAndSlavery
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 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, 10/21/19
A New Jersey seminary has pledged to spend $27 million on scholarships and other initiatives to address its historical ties to slavery, in what appears to be the biggest effort of its kind.
The Washington Post, 11/18/19
The United States’ most elite universities continue to grapple with their historic ties to slavery.
Jonathan Edwards Jr.
Jonathan Edwards Jr. (1746-1801), the son of early America’s preeminent theologian and Princeton’s third president, strongly opposed slavery throughout his life and career as a minister—becoming a leading antislavery activist of the 18th century and one of the few abolitionists Princeton ever produced.
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).
Historical Campus Landscape
An interactive map of the Princeton campus, highlighting major buildings and memorials and their relationship to slavery.
James C. Johnson with goods for sale
Photograph of former slave James Collins Johnson vending his wares on campus.