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Of Princeton's more than 160 endowed professorships and lectureships, four honor men who derived their fortunes from slave labor or contributed to the legacy of slavery in New Jersey and the United States.
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.
Joseph Clark in Virginia (1802-1803)
After a fire destroyed Nassau Hall in 1802, Princeton alumnus Joseph Clark canvassed Virginia on a nine-month fundraising mission. Throughout the trip, Clark relied on the hospitality and financial contributions of fellow Princeton alumni and their connections among Virginia’s slave-owning elite.
Fundraising for Nassau Hall
Many of the donors and fundraisers who contributed to the construction of Nassau Hall had substantial personal, familial, or business ties to slavery and the slave trade.
The Skeleton in the Basement
In 1853, two Princeton alumni described an event in which anatomy students stole a body from the local Black cemetery. Though potentially fictional, their story illustrates how elite white men claimed authority over Black bodies beyond the institution of slavery.
Charles Grandison Finney
Portrait of Charles Finney (1792-1875), an influential "New School" Presbyterian minister.
Lithograph image of Settra Kroo, one of the five principal settlements of the Kru people, just north of Cape Palmas. Missionary house pictured on the far right.
Garrett Cochran in uniform
Photograph of Garrett Cochran (class of 1898) in uniform. Cochran served as a Lieutenant in Field Artillery during World War I.
Half Length Portrait of William Dunbar
William Dunbar (1749-1810).
Witherspoon School post-1908
Photograph of the Witherspoon School on Quarry Street, built in 1908.
Slavery at Princeton: University Delves into Its Charged Racial History
Deutsche Welle (DW), 11/16/17
In a historical investigation, Princeton University unveils darker, unknown aspects of its past: the institution's involvement in slavery. Deutsche Welle (DW) interviews Professor Martha Sandweiss, who started the project.