Connect with us

New Jersey

Princeton University and its legacy of slavery



Princeton University

Several years following the request made by demonstrators at Princeton University to disassociate from Woodrow Wilson, the previous president of the United States and the university, the institution has just unveiled a comprehensive effort documenting the historical presence of slavery within its premises.

The study contains two significant findings made by researchers. Firstly, it was discovered that the initial nine presidents of the college were slave owners. Secondly, it was found that a slave sale took place on campus subsequent to the passing of the university’s fifth president, Samuel Finley.

Princeton University and its legacy of slavery

The study examined the university’s historical association with the institution of slavery and the prevalent slave-owning practices within the state of New Jersey. The findings of the experiment were publicly disclosed on Monday, and the institution has scheduled a symposium for the upcoming weekend to facilitate panels, discussions, and performances centered around these discoveries.

The main speaker at the symposium will be Toni Morrison, a Nobel laureate and author who was awarded an honorary degree by the institution in 2013.

The initiative also provided insight into the integration of slavery into the daily lives of early Princeton academics and students. The educational institution was initially established in the year 1746 under the name of the College of New Jersey. During its initial century of existence, the composition of the student body primarily consisted of individuals hailing from the local vicinity as well as those originating from areas within the southern region of the United areas where slavery was prevalent.

According to the research, there is currently no evidence indicating that Princeton students throughout the colonial or early national periods brought their own slaves to campus. The students frequently came across enslaved individuals who were responsible for transporting wood to their dormitories, engaging in various tasks within the town, or toiling in the fields of the privately held farm located next to the university.

According to the project, despite being situated in a northern state, the university’s growth was contingent upon attracting students from various regions across the country. A significant portion of the student population expressed support for the institution of slavery, occasionally resorting to intimidation tactics and provoking altercations with individuals from the northern states who advocated for the abolition of slavery.
The introduction of the project elucidates its objective of gradual expansion and encourages readers to contribute their own research, narratives, and concepts.

Subsequent investigations have revealed that a minimum of five individuals who held the esteemed position of president at Princeton University during the period spanning from 1756 to 1822 were proprietors of enslaved individuals. These enslaved individuals resided and toiled in the President’s House situated on the university campus, and on one particular occasion, were subjected to the dehumanizing practice of being auctioned off. During this particular era, the President’s House at Princeton University served as a focal point for the institution of slavery.

The initiative will maintain its accessibility to the general public through its online platform, while the symposium, comprising a series of events requiring tickets for admission, is scheduled to take place from November 16th to 19th. The seminar will be televised on local networks in Princeton.

Everyone has heard of Princeton, one of the most highly regarded universities in the United States. Today, it is considered an honor to attend this Ivy League school. But the foundations of it were not as strong as they are today. In fact, the college was almost considered for closure in the 19th century. However, it remained open, and thankfully we have received some of the world’s greatest minds from various disciplines, such as the arts, science, and engineering.

There have been many Nobel Prize winners who graduated from Princeton and even some surprising celebrities. Today, it remains a top school in the world and offers a generous financial aid program based solely on the needs of students sharp enough for acceptance rather than sporting or academic merit. As a result, modern Princeton is a dynamic and diverse place.

A Brief History of Princeton University

Princeton University is among the most notable names in American colleges and, indeed, all over the world. As a top ivy league school, the university prides itself on the liberal arts[1] as well as science and math. Known as a private research university, the college was founded in 1746 in Elizabeth in the Garden State, when it was known simply as the College of New Jersey[2]. The grounds were moved to Newark in 1747[2], and the name was changed to Princeton. 

However, the road to success that the college enjoys today wasn’t easy, and it was almost closed in the late 19th century[2] because of low enrolment caused by conflicting views between students and the faculty. But Princeton was saved, and it was saved in the early 20th century thanks to substantial curriculum changes and the preceptorial system[2]. Following the second world war, Princeton solidified its stature as a research college with the Firestone Library.

A Top Ivy League School

Princeton University has had a long and varied history, some good, some bad, and some excellent. Today it has endured and is known as one of the top ivy league schools within the continental United States, where it currently sits between Harvard and Yale in ranking[3].

Coming in second place is certainly an excellent achievement, especially when compared to some of the best schools in the nation. However, Princeton would be top were it not for the overly strict acceptance parameters of Harvard, and indeed Yale as well, as noted here:

  1. 1. Harvard
  2. 2. Princeton
  3. 3. Yale
  4. 4. U Penn
  5. 5. Columbia
  6. 6. Cornell

Source: Crimson Education

The table above is of notable ivy league schools set by various organizations. There is no official ranking, so the data can be subjective. Still, it shows that Princeron is among the top Ivy League performers and is even considered the top American college by US News National. 

Because of the subjective nature, it is best to research the school you want based on the educational needs for your chosen path in life. Therefore, such tables from Crimson, US News International, and QS World Ranking should be used as a guide when choosing your college.

Notable Princeton Graduates

As a top Ivy League school, there are, of course, many notable graduates from the university. Some of the names are highly recognizable in today’s modern society and indeed culture, and there are those that are world-changing. However, some historical figures of note include:

  • Woodrow Wilson: graduated in 1879 and became the 28th President of the US.
  • Richard Feynman: graduated in 1942 and is a prominent figure in subatomic physics.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: didn’t graduate due to WWI but is considered a literary genius.

Back to modern figures, there are also some notable celebrities among Princeton University graduates that pretty much everyone will recognize today, and some are even a little surprising:

  • David Duchovny: a fine actor known mostly for his work on the iconic The X Files.
  • Jeff Bezos: the founder of Amazon and among the most influential people in the world.
  • Michelle Obama: First Lady to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Source: Business Insider

Of course, the list of amazing and influential people from Princeton University is astounding and covers far more than modern celebrities. The college’s contribution to physics is nothing short of astounding, and there are many notable names among no less than eight Nobel prize winners[4] for physics, including Kip S. Thorne, John Bardeen, and Artur H. Compton. So it should not be a surprise that The Princeton Department of Physics is ranked as the world’s number 3[4].

The Princeton Acceptance Requirements

Like all major Ivy League schools, not just anyone is admitted to Princeton. However, Princeton can sit proudly as a major player merely by the fact its ranking isn’t based almost entirely on being too selective about admissions, such as with Yale. Princeton selects students who show an aptitude for study and are able to demonstrate that they can handle the pressure of Ivy League school life. Therefore, admissions to Princeton are based on the following data:

  • An SAT score of 1570 is generally recommended.
  • You will also need an ACT score of 35 or more.
  • Your high school GPA must be at least 3.9.


So anyone can see that Princeton is indeed a hard school to get into. In fact, the acceptance rate is only around 6 out of every 100, or 5.5%[5]. Unlike most universities and colleges, high scores are the only thing that can contribute to being accepted at Princeton. As such, there are no merit scholarships available[6], and the admission is based on a very generous financial aid program for students from all kinds of backgrounds and income levels who need assistance[6]

When selecting applicants for their aid program, the administrators at Princeton have some guiding principles and are not awarded based on merit but only on the needs of students[6].

Need-blind admission

An equal way of applying for grants that helps middle and low-income students.

No athletic or merit awards

Princeton does not award financial aid based on athletic or academic performance.

Consideration of family circumstances

The administration will award grants based on individual analysis of family income.

Needs met by grants

Payment for education will be made by non-repayable grants in place of student loans.

The whole process of getting into Princeton is a more modern approach that does away with academic and sports performance and assesses a student’s finances instead. This is, of course, if they are successful in being accepted. Grants are also pretty generous and can range from 100% board and tuition for students of families between $65,000 and $180,000[6] income. So if you are thinking of applying to Princeton from high school, don’t be put off by affordability.

Redefining University Learning

Princeton has had a long and distinguished service when it comes to world issues such as the liberal arts, physics, and social sciences. Today, the college is redefining what it thinks modern science should be and how a new approach to education can maintain its solid standing. For instance, the university’s Council on Science and Technology is helping students succeed via STEM learning[7], which combines science, tech, engineering, and math into a single approach.

The idea behind STEM learning is that problems can be solved with a combined approach to individual topics. However, in a very Princeton way, STEM learning is being taken to another level by encouraging learning communities and integrating wholly into the woven fabric of Princeton’s curriculum. As a result, classes at the college are becoming more engaging, practical, and supremely diverse, with contributions from all ages, races, and minorities[7].

Being a Student at Princeton

Student life at Princeton is just like any other, and 98% of students live on the campus grounds[2], with Freshmen and Sophomores required to do so. When not studying or attending classes, students can dine in the many dining halls, with one for each residential part of the campus. The university offers eating clubs for students and cop-op dining experiences where students can prepare and cook meals together as a way to learn some valuable life skills.

Of course, like most colleges, there are traditions at Princeton, some of which date back to the early 19th century. For instance, using traditional college cheers like the Locomotive at official events and reunions[2]. Students need to feel at home and fit in for a quality life while attending. So it’s amazing to see that Princeton is one of the most diverse and welcoming Ivy League schools, with the class of 2021 making up 68% of students identifying as people of color[2].


Princeton University is among the most established and recognized in the world, not just in the US. Its efforts to include all students who pass the highest acceptance scores make it one of the most diverse too. For example, Princeton doesn’t award places based on merit and sporting talent. Instead, it offers places on an equal footing via grants based on family income. As a result, the school boasts a large diversity pool that works to make it better as a whole.


  1. 1. BeMo. 5 Princeton Supplemental Essay Examples for 2023. 
  2. 2. Wikipedia. Princeton University. 
  3. 3. Crimson. The Best Ivy League Schools in 2023. 
  4. 4. Wikipedia. Princeton University Department of Physics. 
  5. 5. PrepScholar. Princeton Requirements for Admission. 
  6. 6. Princeton University. Princeton University Undergraduate Admission. 

7. Princeton University.Presenting the modern face of science.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply