Princeton Seminary | Legacy and Mission: Theological Education and…

Legacy and Mission: Theological Education and the History of Slavery

April 8–9

Academic Conference hosted by Princeton Theological Seminary

How should an institution of higher education address its legacy? What are the implications of that legacy for its current and future mission?

Within the last decade, dozens of colleges and universities have conducted studies of their ties to slavery and have confronted complex questions of historical and ethical evaluation of the past.

This conference will probe several open questions raised by such study of institutional history and examine Princeton Theological Seminary’s unique context within the conversation as an institution of theological education.

Read the Princeton Seminary & Slavery Report

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Monday, April 8

2:00–4:00 p.m. | Session 1: Campus Case Studies: How do academic institutions evaluate their history?

Many colleges and universities have undertaken such studies in the last decade. The methods, process, findings, and recommendations have varied widely from campus to campus. What models have other schools used and what can we learn?


  • Jody Allen, Assistant Professor of History and Director of The Lemon Project, William & Mary
  • Adam Rothman, Professor of History and Director of the Georgetown Slavery Archive, Georgetown University
  • Martha Sandweiss, Professor of History and Director of the Princeton & Slavery Project, Princeton University

Faculty Respondent: Mark Taylor, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture

4:00–5:00 p.m. | Opening Reception

5:15 p.m. | Dinner

7:00–8:30 p.m. | Session 2: Beyond the Campus: How do academic institutions contribute to conversations in contemporary society?

The mission of higher education is to advance learning not only within the academy but also in society at large. How can the scholarship generated by such studies contribute to conversations in our culture about race and the legacy of slavery?

Speaker: Darnell Moore, writer-in-residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University and author of No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America

Tuesday, April 9

8:30–10:00 a.m. | Session 3: Formation of Faith Leaders: What are the implications of this history for the mission and curriculum of theological schools?

Princeton Seminary impacts the world through the lives and ministries of its students, and they must be equipped to lead capably in a church and society that is often fragmented. In light of the institution’s history, how might the current curriculum and educational experience shape the theological imagination of students to prepare them for leadership in the contemporary world?

Speaker: Luke Powery, Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics, Duke Divinity School

Faculty Respondents: Eric Barreto, Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament, and Sally Brown, Elizabeth M. Engle Professor of Preaching and Worship

10:15–11:30 a.m. | Session 4: What are we learning?

Concluding reflections and conversation

Faculty Conveners: Keri Day, Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion, and Gordon Mikoski, Associate Professor of Christian Education

Featured Speakers

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Jody Allen

Jody Lynn Allen, PhD is a native of Hampton, VA, and an Assistant Professor of History at William & Mary. Her research interests cover the U.S. Civil War through the Long Civil Rights Movement focusing on black agency. Her current manuscript, Roses in December: Black Life in Hanover County, Virginia During the Era of Disfranchisement, considers the consequences of and responses to the 1902 Virginia constitution revisions that disfranchised most African American males. She is working with a colleague to produce "The Green Light," a documentary film on the school desegregation case, Charles C. Green v. the School Board of New Kent County, VA. This little-known 1968 Supreme Court decision led to the integration of public schools throughout the South. She co-authored "Recovering a 'Lost' Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court's Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision" which appeared in The Oral History Review. Her article, “Thomas Dew and the Rise of Proslavery Ideology at William & Mary” appears in the Forum on Slavery and Universities in the May 2018 edition of Slavery & Abolition. Allen is also the director of The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation, which is uncovering, making public, and addressing William & Mary’s 326-year relationship with African Americans on the campus and in the Williamsburg and Greater Tidewater area. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Allen was a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of the South at Sewanee, TN where she taught African American History and consulted with Sewanee’s Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.

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Adam Rothman

Adam Rothman is a Professor in the History Department at Georgetown University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in 19th century U.S history, the history of slavery, and Atlantic history. He was a member of Georgetown University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, and is the lead curator of the online Georgetown Slavery Archive. Rothman's first book, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South (Harvard University Press 2005), traced the growth of slavery in the early United States. His latest book, Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery (Harvard 2015), tells the true story of three enslaved children who were taken from New Orleans to Havana during the Civil War, and their mother’s effort to recover them. It won awards from the American Civil War Museum, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and American Library Association Government Documents Roundtable. He has written for The Atlantic, Daily Beast, Al Jazeera America, and the New York Times’ Disunion blog. He earned his BA from Yale and PhD from Columbia. Rothman now lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Martha Sandweiss

Martha A. Sandweiss is a historian of the United States, with particular interests in the history of the American West, visual culture, and public history. She received her PhD in History from Yale University and began her career as a photography curator at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, TX. She later taught American Studies and History at Amherst College for twenty years before joining the Princeton faculty in 2009.

Sandweiss is the author or editor of numerous books on American history and photography. Her publications include Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception across the Color Line (2009), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (2002), winner of the Organization of American Historians’ Ray Allen Billington Award for the best book in American frontier history and the William P. Clements Award. Her other works include Laura Gilpin: An Enduring Grace (1986), winner of the George Wittenborn Award for outstanding art book, and the co-edited volume The Oxford History of the American West (1994), winner of the Western Heritage Award and the Caughey Western History Association prize for the outstanding book in western history.

She is the Founder and Project Director of the Princeton & Slavery Project, a large-scale investigation into Princeton University's historical ties to the institution of slavery.

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Darnell Moore

Darnell L. Moore is the author of No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America. He is currently Head of Strategy and Programs at Breakthrough US and is the former Editor-at-Large at CASSIUS (an iOne digital platform) and a senior editor and correspondent at Mic. He is co-managing editor at The Feminist Wire and an editor of The Feminist Wire Books (a series of University of Arizona Press). He is also a writer-in-residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University.

Darnell’s advocacy centers on marginal identity, youth development and other social justice issues in the U.S. and abroad. He hosted Mic's digital series, The Movement, which was nominated for a Breakthrough Series: Short Form Award at the 2016 IFP Gotham Awards. He has led and participated in several critical dialogues including the 58th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women; the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington National Panel on Race, Discrimination and Poverty, the 2012 Seminar on Debates on Religion and Sexuality at Harvard Divinity School, and as a member of the first U.S. delegation of LGBTQ leaders to Palestine in 2012.

A prolific writer, Darnell has been published in various media outlets including MSNBC, The Guardian, Huffington Post, EBONY, The Root, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Gawker, Truth Out, VICE, Guernica, Mondoweiss, Thought Catalog, Good Men Project and others, as well as numerous academic journals including QED: A Journal in GLBTQ World Making, Women Studies Quarterly, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology, Transforming Anthropology, Black Theology: An International Journal, and Harvard Journal of African American Policy, among others. He also edited the art book Nicolaus Schmidt: Astor Place, Broadway, New York: A Universe of Hairdressers (Kerber Verlag) and has published essays in several edited books.

Darnell has held positions of Visiting Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Yale Divinity School, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University and the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. He is presently Writer-in-Residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexuality, and Social Justice at Columbia University. He has taught in the Women and Gender’s Studies and Public Administration departments at Rutgers University, Fordham University, City College of New York City and Vassar College. Darnell has also provided keynote addresses at Harvard University, Williams College, Stony Brook University, New Jersey City University, Stanford University, and the New School.

Darnell received the 2012 Humanitarian Award from the American Conference on Diversity for his advocacy in the City of Newark, where he served as Chair of the LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission. He is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Academic Leadership Award from Rutgers University LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center for his contributions to developing the Queer Newark Oral History Project. He received the 2013 Angel Award from Gay Men of African Descent and the 2014 Gentleman of the Year Award from the Gentlemen’s Foundation. He was listed as a one of Planned Parenthood’s Top 99 Dream Keepers in 2015, was featured in USA Today’s #InTheirOwnWords multimedia feature on contemporary civil rights activists, was named among EBONY Magazines's 2015 Power 100, Time Out New York's Eight LGBT Influencers, Be Modern Man 100, and The Root 100 2016 and 2018.

He assisted in organizing the Black Lives Matters Ride to Ferguson in the wake of Mike Brown’s tragic murder and along with Alicia Garza, Patrisee Cullors, and Opal Tometti (#BlackLivesMatter Co-Founders) developed the infrastructure for the BLM Network.

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Luke Powery

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching (homiletics), Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats.

His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He has written three books: Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching; Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope; and his latest book Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals. He has also co-authored an introductory textbook on preaching, Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place. The second book in the series of meditations on the Spirituals, this time for the season of Lent, Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spiritual, will be available in January 2019. He is also a general editor of a forthcoming nine volume lectionary commentary series for preaching and worship titled, Connections.

Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada and the United States. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, for which he has served as Secretary; the American Academy of Religion; and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Powery served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2008, the African-American Pulpit named him one of 20 outstanding black ministers under the age of 40 who are helping shape the future direction of the church. More recently, in 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society.

Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his BA in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his ThD from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.

He is married to Gail Powery, and the couple has two children.

Cost & Registration

Registration: The conference is free for PTS students, faculty, and staff, but registration is requested. For other guests, the conference fee is $60, including all sessions, dinner on Monday, and breakfast on Tuesday.

Lodging: Lodging is available for out of town guests for additional cost at the Seminary’s Erdman Center and area hotels. To book lodging at the Erdman Center, use event code 106495.

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Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Scholar and Theological Educator

Kathleen M. O’Connor, Class of 1984

“Informal time in discussion groups with faculty and students discussing feminist theological literature altered my views, excited my spirit, and greatly influenced my teaching.”