Toni Morrison Praises Princeton & Slavery Project Research
A slave sale took place on the Princeton University campus, and the first nine Princeton presidents were slaveholders at some point in their lives. Those are just two of the discoveries made by scholars working with the Princeton & Slavery Project, a faculty and student project that explores the ties of early Princeton University trustees, presidents, faculty and students to the institution of slavery.
Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, who taught at the university from 1989 to 2006, returned to Princeton on Nov. 17 to give the keynote address for the Princeton and Slavery Project Symposium.
Morrison highlighted themes from the project, focusing on Princeton’s hesitance to critique slave ownership. According to a project overview by Professor Martha A. Sandweiss, Princeton & Slavery Director, and Craig Hollander, Princeton tried to prioritize political diversity by appeasing both northerners and southerners. In the words of Sandweiss and Hollander, Princeton “administrators sought to make their southern students and slave-holding patrons feel welcome,” a tendency that continued throughout and beyond the Civil War.