Adam Clark, nj.com, October 21, 2019
Princeton Theological Seminary will set aside more than $25 million to pay reparations for its historical ties to slavery, thrusting the seminary to the forefront of a national debate over how America’s should reconcile with its slave-owning past.
Calling the payments an act of repentance, President M. Craig Barnes said in a statement Friday the seminary is “committed to telling the truth,” even though the seminary itself never owned slaves.
Founded in 1812, the seminary benefited from the slave economy through investments in Southern banks and from donors who profited from slavery. Its founding faculty and leaders used slave labor during their lifetime and some advocated for sending free black men and women to Liberia, according the seminary.
The payments will include offering 30 new scholarships, valued at the cost of tuition plus $15,000, for students who are descendants from slaves or from underrepresented groups. The seminary, unaffiliated with Princeton University, will also designate five doctoral fellowships for students who are descendants from slaves and hire a full-time director for the Center for Black Church Studies, among other initiatives.
The seminary will reserve the money from its $1 billion endowment to sustain the initiatives in perpetuity to achieve generational change.