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Symposium Explores U.S. History “Writ Small,” Reveals “Powerful and Fruitful” Research

The Princeton & Slavery Symposium, held Nov. 16-19 at Princeton University, featured panels, performances, guided tours, exhibitions, film screenings and a keynote speech by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Hundreds of people attended the events: Princeton students, faculty and staff members; scholars and higher education administrators from across the country; and community members. Thousands watched the proceedings through livestreaming.

“The Princeton & Slavery Project is a scholarly investigation of the University’s historical involvement with the institution of slavery,” Martha Sandweiss, professor of history, and the founder and director of the Princeton & Slavery Project, told the packed audience Friday afternoon in Richardson Auditorium, who had come to hear Morrison, Princeton’s Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus.

“It has its roots in a small undergraduate seminar I taught almost five years ago and has grown to include dozens of team members, some 40 colleagues, mostly undergraduate and graduate students here at Princeton,” Sandweiss said. She noted that the Princeton & Slavery website has the equivalent of more than 800 printed pages, as well as some 370 primary source documents, including videos, graphs, interactive maps, lesson plans and more.

“At the symposium, we will explore the ways in which Princeton University is the history of the United States of America writ small, a place where liberty and slavery were intertwined from the start,” Sandweiss said.

Read more at Princeton.edu.

Did You Know...?African Americans worked on campus as students, staff, and teaching assistants. Read More