In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team loses to Harvard on immigration restrictions, the grading system is radically changed, and more.
May 10, 1947—In the Chicago Defender, W. E. B. Du Bois reports that Princeton University had written to him in 1910: “Princeton University has never had graduates of Negro descent.”
Q. What information do you have about African Americans and Princeton University?
A. Until the twentieth century, Princeton’s history has mostly been dominated by white men, typically from prosperous backgrounds. Though decidedly pro-Union during the Civil War, the campus had strong Southern influences, and its reputation as the “northernmost university town of the [segregated] south” was not undeserved. Yet that is not to say that Princeton’s story can only be told in terms of its loudest voices. Here, we give a brief overview of some of the ways African Americans fit into Princeton’s past.
Princeton University cheerleaders Holland Gary ’97 and Tiffany O’Brien ’97, 1995. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP9, Image No. 2484.