The Town She Grew Up In: Shirley Satterfield

Shirley Satterfield guided an African-American tour of Princeton on June 19th, on behalf of the Princeton Historical Society. The tour concluded with with light refreshment at the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. 

Though not announced as such, the tour took place on “Juneteenth,” the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the Emancipation of slaves. It is observed as a holiday in many states.  

Twenty invited guests from The New Jim Crow committee and from Not in Our Town went from the Princeton Historical Society (if you haven’t seen the new Einstein and Streets of Princeton exhibits, you’re missing the boat), Nassau Street (which Mr. Albert Hinds helped to pave) to Nassau Presbyterian (where slaves sat in the gallery until it burned the second time, and then the African Americans formed Witherspoon Presbyterian), to Palmer Square (where houses on Baker Street were moved or replaced to make way for Palmer Square), to Paul Robeson Place (which wasn’t a street until the borough cut through the African-American neighborhood to connect Wiggins to Route 206), to the former site of a brick movie theater, to what is now the Arts Council of Princeton (which used to be a youth center for the neighborhood.)

Yes, Princeton was a Jim Crow town, openly.

It’s a story. For later. But thank you, Shirley Satterfield, for an eye-opening tour.


3 Comments on “The Town She Grew Up In: Shirley Satterfield

  1. Pingback: Taxed out, deathed out, and rented out | NIOT Princeton

  2. “to make way for” Palmer Square” is really offensive, shilly-shally phrasing. Princeton officials bulldozed homes or moved them on trucks to other areas of Witherspoon-Jackson so that white folks could do Edgar Palmer’s bidding. There are documents and photographs extant that give proof to the desecrations. Of course there was no monetary compensation for the destructions. There are people now living in the WJ community whose parents endured these so-called “urban renewals.”

    • Thank you for putting appropriate emphasis on the effects of the destruction. You have the poet’s way with words. BFF

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