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 Huffington Post, 11/28/17
Titus Kaphar's work for the Princeton & Slavery Project tells a story of buried history.
State of the Arts NJ, 1/8/18
Princeton University faces its legacy of slavery in a wide-ranging history project that engages the public with art, theater, and more.
The New York Review of Books, 2/7/18
From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply.
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.
Slavery at the President's House
At least five Princeton presidents who served between 1756 and 1822 owned enslaved people who lived, worked—and on one occasion were auctioned off—at the President’s House on campus. During this period, the President’s House was the center of slavery at Princeton.
An interactive timeline of major events related to Princeton and slavery.
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.