Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey will set aside $28 million in scholarships and doctoral fellowships for the descendants of chattel slavery and “underrepresented” groups, as a means of providing reparations for the institution’s role in profiting on the backs, labor, and pain of enslaved people, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to designating five doctoral fellowships for descendants of enslaved Africans, the payments will include 30 scholarships, valued at the cost of tuition plus $15,000, NJ.com reports. The seminary will also hire a full-time director for the Center for Black Church Studies.
Princeton Theological Seminary profited from the slavery economy by investing in Southern banks and had donors who benefited from slavery. Founding teachers and leaders exploited the labor of enslaved people and some advocated to send free Black men and women to Liberia.
In a statement Friday, President M. Craig Barnes called the payments an “act of repentance.”
“The Seminary’s ties to slavery are a part of our story,” Barnes said. “It is important to acknowledge that our founders were entangled with slavery and could not envision a fully integrated society… We did not want to shy away from the uncomfortable part of our history and the difficult conversations that revealing the truth would produce.”
This is not the first “reparations” package from an institution of higher learning.
As ESSENCE previously reported in April, students at Georgetown University overwhelmingly voted in favor of setting up a fund that would go to the descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that were sold to pay off Georgetown Jesuits’ debts.