Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
What we knew in generalities we now know in detail. As president of this school, I have sought models for how an institution can honestly deal with such truths. In candor, I found the most encouraging model in the approach of Princeton University in its “Princeton & Slavery” project. Princeton’s report begins with these words: “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.”
If you change the name of the school and the year of its founding, you could make the same statement about almost any prominent and early institution of American life through at least some point in the nineteenth century. Those words would certainly be true of Southern Seminary.
A year ago, I asked a team of Southern Seminary and Boyce College faculty members to spend twelve months conducting a thorough investigation of these questions. Some of our own students were asking these questions. We all should have been asking these questions. How can a school like Princeton University face the truth while we, holding to the truth of the gospel, would refuse to do the same?