This Week in Princeton History for October 8-14

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first female leader takes the helm of the Association of Black Collegians, the Princetonian takes issue with fashion choices in chapel, and more.

October 8, 1971—Princeton’s Association of Black Collegians has a new coordinator: Deborah Jackson ’74, the first woman to hold the organization’s top leadership role.

October 10, 1987—In response to the increasing spread of AIDS among heterosexuals, the Advisory Council to Princeton’s Health Services approves the sale of condoms at McCosh Health Center. Condoms were never previously available at the clinic, but Princeton is the last institution in the Ivy League not making them available to its students.

October 11, 1889—Since many Princeton students seem to be more lax about their clothing in Sunday chapel these days, the Princetonian notes that some attendees’ “sense of propriety has been severely shocked” and urges greater attention to apparel. “Nothing is too good for that occasion, and if a man’s own sense of decency is hardened to wearing sweaters and other such negligé everyday garments at Sunday chapel he should certainly have the good taste to refrain for the sake of others who may feel differently on the subject.”

October 12, 1933—A rally for the Communist candidate for mayor of Princeton, Thomas MacNally, turns violent when onlookers pelt speakers with eggs, cabbage, and other unidentified objects. The local police will insist that Princeton University students are responsible for throwing food, though others, including the University proctors, will deny this.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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Power to the People: Princeton’s Black Activism Movement

ABC was a place where we could go and it was us. We did have a kindred spirit. I mean because it was 98 black students, all of us knew each other. And even guys that you didn’t hang out with, at some point in time you might be in their dorm room.
Ralph Austin ’73

In 2015,  Brandon A. Holt ’15 conducted interviews with black activists from Association of Black Collegians (ABC) and other organizations at Princeton. The interviews, which include alumni from the classes of 1969-1981, address student participation in demonstrations, hate crimes on campus, and black solidarity. The transcripts of the Brandon D. Holt Collection of Oral History Interviews on Black Student Activism at Princeton are available freely online and provide an insider’s look into black student life.

Princeton’s black students experienced the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement as a reality of daily life, not just as stories they saw on the news. From low numbers of African American students to discrimination on campus, the black college experience at Princeton University had its share of adversity. During these tumultuous years, black Princetonians united across national, class, and gender lines to fight for inclusion and civil rights on campus as well as worldwide.

Tiger_Protest_1970_Bric

Photo from 1970 Bric-a-Brac.

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