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Princeton, New Jersey, has long had the reputation of being a pretty and prosperous college town, an almost bucolic stop midway between Philadelphia and New York. Yet despite being in the North, Princeton had strong ties to the South throughout the antebellum era, largely because the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) had a longstanding commitment to recruiting students from below the Mason-Dixon Line. In celebration of Juneteenth, please join us as Dr. Gregory Nobles explores Princeton’s history in the Civil War era through the person of Betsey Stockton, a much-revered figure among Princeton’s Black people, a local leader engaged in the grass-roots business of building support systems for her community. Her story highlights the larger significance of Black people in the antebellum North whose persistence was a form of resistance, working on a day-to-day basis in building Black communities, holding them together in a nation that was on the path to coming apart.

Gregory Nobles (AB Princeton University, PhD University of Michigan) was a faculty member and administrator for thirty-three years at Georgia Tech, where he is now Professor Emeritus of History. His research specialty is the history of the United States from the era of the American Revolution to the Civil War, and his most recent book is The Education of Betsey Stockton: An Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 2022). He did the research and writing for that work while serving as the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society, in Worcester MA, 2016-2017, and the Robert C. Ritchie Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library, in San Marino CA, 2018-2109. Nobles lives in Atlanta GA and Northport MI.

This program is being co-sponsored by the Thomas Edison State University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.

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This program is presented on ZOOM from the New Jersey State Library.