Not In Our Town Princeton

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.


You Are Not Allowed to Wear Red

You’re not allowed to wear red. When I tell people this, their first response is, “Oh, it will get the prisoners all riled up.” Because they are like bulls? For real? No, it’s because the prison uniforms are red.

  • You never, ever forget for even one second that you are in a jail.

  • Some of the inmates are so young it breaks your heart.

This is written by a Pittsburgh librarian who teaches classes in prison. One of the ways we, personally, can alleaviate the inequities of The New Jim Crow is to support education in prison. As the writer says, most prisons no longer have the goal of rehabilitation.

Click here for a list of books that tell about it. (After all, this is a librarian’s blog!)

Juneteenth: Celebration on June 22 and 23

Juneteenth” is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the Emancipation of slaves. It is observed as a holiday in many states, certainly in the District of Columbia.

In Trenton, it will be observed by two events:

Saturday, June 22, 2013, 12 noon-2 PM— Book Discussion led by Lukata Mujumbe, M. Div: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.  Location: Classics Used and Rare Book Store, 6 West Lafayette St., Trenton. Light refreshments.
Sunday, June 23, 12:30 PM–Viewing of the film Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the US. Location: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 801 West State Street, Trenton. RSVP required,, 609-586-0915


NYT: Coming Together on the New Jim Crow.

True public safety will come about only when we as a country commit to providing all young people with opportunities to lead satisfying lives, said someone responding to a proposal for prison reform.

The original oped piece was by Richard A. Viguerie, the chairman of and the author of “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.” 

Most who try to change ‘The New Jim Crow’ will agree with many of his statements, as  The current system often turns out prisoners who are more harmful to society than when they went in, so prison and re-entry reform are issues of public safety as well.

Race vs Class: False Dichotemy?

 Sherrilyn A. Ifill , the president and director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., wrote about the pending Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in the New York Times today. Quoted below in italics:

Greater classroom diversity helps ensure that minority and white students alike are prepared for leadership at a time of rapid demographic change.

That diversity includes class. To serve as their state’s leaders one day, students at the University of Texas and the University of Maryland will need to understand that not all blacks are poor, not all whites are rich, and not all Latino students speak Spanish.

– – –

A recent New York Times poll showed that most Americans support affirmative action.

If there is public discomfort, it is precisely because race still does matter, because it still resonates so powerfully in American life. This is evidence that we need more contact among students of different races, not less.

In March, Race VS Class was the topic for Continuing Conversations on Race at the Princeton Public Library. NIOT does not disclose details of these discussions.

Side note: Sherrilyn, an attorney, does happen to be the cousin of Gwen.
%d bloggers like this: