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, 6/27/20
University trustees concluded that Wilson’s “racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college."
The New York Times, 5/12/20
Nicholas Johnson, who was named valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020, called the achievement especially significant, given the school’s struggle in recent years to confront its troubled history with slavery.
The New York Times, 11/6/17
Princeton University has a long history connected to slavery, which has remained hidden until now.
Joseph Henry and Sam Parker
Joseph Henry spent fourteen years at the College of New Jersey, serving as Chair of Natural History between 1832 and 1846. Sam Parker, his assistant, was a free black man.
Moses Taylor Pyne and the Sugar Plantations of the Americas
The financial contributions of Moses Taylor Pyne (class of 1877), one of Princeton's most prominent benefactors, reveal the complex relationship between Princeton, the American sugar trade, and the slave economy.
The Princeton & Slavery Plays, Part IV: James Johnson
Interviews and clips from "James Johnson," by Regina Taylor, which premiered at the McCarter Theatre in November 2017 as part of the Princeton & Slavery Project Symposium.
Letter from John Witherspoon Woods
Letter from John Witherspoon Woods (class of 1837) to his mother, describing a student-led attack against an abolitionist.