Ceremony Honoring James Johnson Arch Invokes ‘Ancestors Who Can Galvanize Community’
Many Princeton students and others pass through the two arches and courtyard of East Pyne Hall daily, but on Monday afternoon foot traffic — and time — stopped for a special public ceremony to honor James Collins Johnson, a former enslaved man who worked on campus for more than 60 years until his death in 1902.
Johnson’s story was unearthed as part of the Princeton and Slavery Project, which explored the ties of early University trustees, presidents, faculty and students to the institution of slavery. In April, the trustees accepted recommendations to name the easternmost arch in East Pyne Hall for Johnson. A formal dedication of the arch is planned for later this fall.