About

In the epilogue of her memoir Becoming, Princeton alumna Michelle Obama ’85 writes:

“Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard...and there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

Today, we as a country are grappling with our differences, our assumptions, and our histories. We are understanding the ways in which some of us, particularly Black communities and other communities of color, are unheard and unrecognized in the spaces we inhabit.

Princeton is no exception. While we have all walked through the same gates, we have also lived profoundly different realities.

To Be Known and Heard shines a light on the Princeton experiences of minorities, recognizing the injustices and indignities in the University’s history, as well as efforts to address them. We look at experiences that span across 274 years, and feature 15 student groups and 22 interviews. These experiences show that Princeton is not a bubble. It must reckon with the profoundly American reality of people of all backgrounds coexisting.

The result is not comprehensive but serves as an introduction to voices and memories that have long been suppressed. We invite you to participate in this conversation and contribute your own story so that we can together strive towards a culture of openness and accountability.

Image: Emily McDonald 15 and her aunt, Christiane Berry 81, savor a moment together following the Pan-African Graduation in Richardson Auditorium. (Office of Communications)

Let’s move the conversation forward.

To Be Known And Heard aims to continue and expand the conversation around racism at Princeton. This is not a complete recounting, but rather shows critical examples to bring underrepresented histories of racism and anti-racism to light. We encourage you to learn more and invite you to contribute your voice.

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Project Leads
Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding
Office of Wintersession and Campus Engagement

Co-sponsors
Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
University Archives
Office of the Vice President for Campus Life
Campus Conversations on Identities Fund
Program in American Studies
History Department
Sociology Department

Advisory Group
Hilcia Acevedo ’23
Tennille Haynes, co-chair, Carl A. Fields Center
Professor Tera Hunter, African American Studies and History
Judy Jarvis, co-chair, Office of Wintersession and Campus Engagement
Dan Linke, University Archives
Sarah Malone, American Studies
Shawn Maxam, Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Fumika Mizuno ’21
Grace Stone ’22

Research
Daniel He ’16, Isometric Studio

Design
Isometric Studio