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"The Celebrated Alexander Dumas Watkins": Princeton's First Black Instructor
Alexander Dumas Watkins (1855-1903), a self-taught biologist, conducted significant scientific research alongside Princeton University professors from the 1880s until his death in 1903. Despite holding no formal academic position, Watkins worked in Princeton’s laboratories and taught courses as the University’s first black instructor—and the last until the 1950s.
Escape from Princeton
In 1819, Princeton Mayor Erkuries Beatty engaged a recent College of New Jersey graduate to recapture his runaway slave, Joe. The incident underscores the terror and uncertainty of enslavement in central Jersey.
Princeton’s Founding Trustees
A firm majority of Princeton's founding trustees (sixteen out of twenty-three) bought, sold, traded, or inherited slaves during their lifetimes.
Navigating Slavery: Robert F. Stockton and the Limits of Antislavery Thought
Robert Field Stockton, a naval officer and supporter of the American Colonization Society, embodied the College of New Jersey’s struggle—and eventual failure—to reconcile the cruelties of slavery with a desire to encourage harmony between the North and South.
Princeton and Abolition
Princeton’s faculty and students actively opposed abolition, creating a climate of fear and intimidation around the subject during the 19th century. Although some Princeton affiliates were critical of slavery, the institution demonstrated a catastrophic failure of leadership on the greatest moral question of the age.
Newspaper advertisement for a runaway servant
Newspaper advertisement for a runaway slave
Clara Voorhees Obiturary
New York Times obituary for Clara Voorhees, a former slave and longtime chef at Princeton.
"Shameful Outrage at Princeton"
Letters from Lewis Tappan, James Carnahan, and Theodore Wright regarding the attack on Wright during the Princeton commencement.
"100 Dollars Reward" for Jack
Advertisement for a runaway slave
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Princeton & Slavery: A Paradox of American History
Thursday, May 3
6:30 pm Reception; 7 pm Presentation and Discussion
Princeton Club of NY (15 West 43rd St.)