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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 and Mississippi
Princeton students and their families lived in the Mississippi area decades before statehood in 1817. From the 1790s to the Civil War, Mississippians at the College of New Jersey came from elite families who built their wealth on cotton and slave labor.
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.
Samuel Davies, Princeton’s fourth president (1759-61), was a pioneering Presbyterian minister on Virginia’s western frontier and one of the earliest missionaries to enslaved people in the British colonies. Davies preached the spiritual equality of Africans and African Americans and supported the education of enslaved people, but owned at least two slaves during his life.
William Taylor on Campus
Photograph of William Taylor, an African American vendor on campus during the early 20th century.
William Taylor on Nassau Street
Photograph of William Taylor, an African American vendor at Princeton in the early 20th century, on Nassau Street.
Stephen Alexander, who joined the Princeton faculty as an astronomy professor in 1840.
An undated portrait of Rev. Samuel Davies, courtesy of Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, Virginia.