Princeton Theological Seminary, a religious college in New Jersey, has pledged $28 million dollars in reparations as an act of repentance following its ties to slavery. According to new reports, it’s one of the largest efforts of its kind.
“Under the plan, which was announced last week and will be implemented over the course of the next five years, the private school of theology in New Jersey will offer 30 new scholarships and five doctoral fellowships for descendants of people who were enslaved or for others from underrepresented groups,” CNN reports, adding “The seminary will make changes to its curriculum, hire more scholars to study the legacy of slavery and rename campus spaces in honor of prominent African-Americans, among other initiatives. The program will cost more than $1 million a year, the seminary said, and $27.6 million will be set aside in the endowment to sustain it.”
Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Relations John White reportedly said in a press release, “These responses are intended as acts of repentance that will lead to lasting impact within our community. This is the beginning of the process of repair that will be ongoing.”
And as far as the institution’s slavery relations, CNN states…
“The actions are a result of two-year audit conducted by faculty and administrators that detailed the Princeton seminary’s relationship to slavery. The report found that the seminary, which is independent of Princeton University, did not own slaves and that its buildings were not constructed with slave labor. But the seminary did receive financial contributions from Southern sources, including slaveowners and congregations with ties to slavery. And for a time, a large portion of the seminary’s endowment was connected to Southern banks that were financing the expansion of slavery in the Southwest. The research found that several of the seminary’s founders and early leaders used slave labor, despite speaking out against slavery. Additionally, many seminary faculty, board members and alumni were involved in the American Colonization Society, an organization that argued against immediate emancipation and advocated sending formerly enslaved people back to Africa.”
Let’s see if any other schools decide to follow in Princeton Theological Seminary’s footsteps.