The Princeton Theological Seminary, in Princeton, NJ, has set aside $27 million to pay reparations for its ties to slavery.
Among the institutions of higher education, the more than two-hundred-year-old Seminary joined Rutgers and Princeton Universities to publicly disclose their ties to the slave trade.
However, neither Rutgers nor Princeton have pledged reparations.
The Seminary recently began a study of its history with the enslavement of African Americans after three Black seminarians launched a petition calling for reparations.
“These payments are an act of repentance,” M. Craig Barnes, president of the Seminary, said in a statement. “We are committed to telling the truth,” Barnes said.
Although he noted that the Seminary never owned slaves, it was complicit in the slave trade.
Barnes said Princeton Theological Seminary benefitted from the slave economy when it invested in Southern banks. They also received funds from donors who directly profited from slavery, and the founding fathers of the academy used slave labor.
Faculty leaders also once advocated for sending free Black people to Liberia.
“The Seminary’s ties to slavery are a part of our story,” Barnes stated. “It is important to acknowledge that our founders were entangled with slavery and could not envision a fully integrated society. We did not want to shy away from the uncomfortable part of our history and the difficult conversations that revealing the truth would produce.”
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