In Response to: Across Nassau Street

The Princeton Alumni Weekly’s article about Kathryn Watterson’s oral history of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, I Hear My People Singing: Voices of African American Princeton, elicited letters from alumni about their experiences.  Philip L. Johnson ’61 wrote, “There were many white students who made it clear to me they thought I did not belong. There wasn’t any physical abuse or outright taunting, but they refused to speak to me or made comments under their breath that they did not approve of me sullying their white school. . . . I found comfort crossing Nassau Street and venturing into the local community. “

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One Comment on “In Response to: Across Nassau Street

  1. The reality, Mr. Johnson spoke of in 1961, dishearteningly, rings true today. The difference is that in 1961 African Americans were made to feel foolish when speaking of the discomfort and isolation experienced within White spaces. White people exercised their privilege in open ways, as they do today, standing tall within white supremacy as the social norm. Today, these same messages exist some subtle, while others are apparent in the way Princeton neighbors co-exist in silence about the differences in space and treatment. Princeton as other communities remains standing still in segregation and racism.

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