The Association of Black Seminarians, a student group at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, has started a petition calling for their school to pay reparations for the seminary’s history with slavery. Currently, about 15 percent of the seminary’s student body is Black.
According to the report, even though the institution never used slave labor, many of the seminary’s founders personally owned slaves. The report states that 15 percent of the school’s income before the Civil War came from slaveholders. The authors suggest that as much as 40 percent of the institution’s revenues could have come from slavery considering that many of the school’s donors profited, in one way or another, from slavery. Additionally, the report also notes that a group of faculty and students from Princeton Theological Seminary were a part of a colonization movement that aimed to send freed slaves back to Africa because they believed the former slaves could not co-exist with Whites.
The association calls for the school to allocate 15 percent of its $968 million endowment “for redressing this historical injustice by January 1, 2020.” The organization suggests that the funds be used to give full tuition scholarships for Black students and to set aside 10 spaces for students from Libera and an additional 10 spaces for students from other West African nations.
“In the spirit of MOVING FORWARD,” the petition reads, “the ABS encourages the Board of Trustees and the Administration to follow the instructions of Leviticus 26:41 fully, in which the covenant people of God are called to make amends for the iniquity of their ancestors.”