Jonathan Gibbs, a member
of the Seminary's Class of
1834, was Florida's first
secretary of state.
Adrian Backus, the
Seminary's director of
planning, research, and
special projects, received
his Master of Divinity
degree from PTS in 1997.
Cleophus J. LaRue, assistant professor of
homiletics at PTS, is interested especially in
the origin of African American preaching.
wise person once commented, "There are three
sides to every story: your side, my side, and the
truth." What is the truth about the African
American experience at Princeton Theological
a historical perspective, Princeton has played an
active role in the rich and dynamic history of
African Americans in their struggle for freedom
in the United States. But what about a more
current perspective? What about todays
African American students as they face both the
academic rigors of seminary and the social
aspects of the PTS community?
For many of last
years incoming African American students,
the anxiety that often accompanies being in the
minority was diminished at the opening communion
service held in Miller Chapel on September 17.
Dr. Cleophus F. LaRue Jr. preached that day.
LaRue, an assistant professor of homiletics;
LaRue, a graduate of the Seminarys Classes
of 1990 (M.Div.) and 1996 (Ph.D.); LaRue, a Black
Baptist preacher from Texas.
"Here you are
at Princeton," he said, "this flagship
of the Presbyterian Church (USA). And the first
day of school the first sermon you hear is from a
Black Baptist preacher."
In retrospect, and
having learned something of the role that
Princeton Theological Seminary has played in the
African American struggle for freedom, students
in the Class of 2000 may no longer be surprised
by LaRues presence. For much of its
history, the Seminary has educated and trained
African American teachers and preachers. In both
direct and indirect ways, it has also contributed
to the development of other institutions of
higher education as well as to organizations that
would later play a central role in the march to