September 17, 2014

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Palmer Square’s 23rd Annual JazzFeast showcasing area musicians and restaurants drew an overflow crowd to hear Alan Dale and the New Legacy Jazz Band; the Warren Chiasson Quartet’s Tribute to George Shearing; The Fins; Cynthia Sayer & Sparks Fly; and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

September 10, 2014

A public talk by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, will take place October 28 at 9:30 a.m. at Jadwin Gymnasium on the Princeton University campus. Tickets will be available to students starting September 16, to staff September 18, and to the general public September 23. Members of the public can obtain two tickets per person.

The Dalai Lama’s talk, “Develop the Heart,” is sponsored by The Office of Religious Life at Princeton University and The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation. “As a scholar and a monk, the Dalai Lama will highlight the importance of developing compassion and kindness, alongside the intellect, in an academic environment,” according to information from the University’s Office of Communications.

At 1:30 p.m., the spiritual leader will engage “a select group of students and faculty in conversation around Princeton’s informal motto, ‘In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations,’” according to the University’s website. For further information, email hhdl@princeton.edu.

SELLING OFF SILVER: The Silver Shop, the oldest store on Palmer Square, closed its doors a few months ago. But fans of the shop will be able to view and buy the inventory at an auction later this month. The preview is September 22 at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.

SELLING OFF SILVER: The Silver Shop, the oldest store on Palmer Square, closed its doors a few months ago. But fans of the shop will be able to view and buy the inventory at an auction later this month. The preview is September 22 at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Customers of The Silver Shop, the oldest store on Palmer Square, were dealt a blow when the store announced its closing a few months ago. But those who counted on the shop for its stock of silver jewelry and antiques will have one more chance to check out the merchandise.

Sal Pitts, the fourth and final owner of the shop, will offer the entire contents at an auction at Philadelphia’s Material Culture over two weekends, September 27 and 28 and October 11 and 12. A preview is being held September 22 at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, 1128 Great Road, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

Taking a break from preparations, Mr. Pitts recalled his discovery of The Silver Shop in 1988, and his subsequent move to Princeton from Philadelphia, where he was in the restaurant business, a decade later. The store was opened during the Great Depression by a couple who had ties to a prominent jewelry store in Philadelphia.

“I was a customer there for ten years, and it evolved that every single one of my gifts came from that store,” Mr. Pitts said. “I never needed to shop anywhere else. I could go to Princeton and get something for anyone, anytime, at that little shop.”

Mr. Pitts moved to Princeton in 1998. It wasn’t long before he heard that the third owner, Arthur Colletti, had died, and the store was going to close. Mr. Pitts became convinced that he had to save the shop. He began a campaign to buy it, finally prevailing after a year.

“I would go with my neighbor, Hope, every Thursday afternoon,” he said. “We would go in and talk to whoever was on duty and leave my name and contact information. But no one ever called. On the last day — this is for real — there was a picture of the store in the paper, with a caption saying it was closing that day. It was a Thursday. We drove over and there was actually a parking space in front of the store, and I don’t have to tell you how serendipitous that was.”

It was only four o’clock, and the store was supposed to close at six, but the woman at the counter was already turning the lights out. Mr. Pitts and his friend talked her into calling the man who was handling the estate. “I told her I’m not leaving until you get whomever you report to talk to me,” he said, laughing. “I embarrassed Hope. But it worked. This very distinguished-looking elderly man in a suit, with a walking stick, came in and said, ‘I heard you wanted to see me.’ So we went across the street to The Nassau Inn and I bought him a drink. I wrote him a check and we became great friends.”

Once he took over, Mr. Pitts gutted and revamped the store. He bought the inventory and the contents of the late owner’s house as well. “We had something for everyone,” he recalled. “The shop was full of one-of-a-kind items. It was pleasurable to share it. I never had an employee who forced a sale. It wasn’t fruit. It wasn’t going to spoil. My passion extended far beyond the revenue. The exchange with the customer was the best thing about it.”

After seven years, Mr. Pitts signed on for five more years. But by the time the lease came up again, he had made up his mind to close the store. “I have other interests, and it tethered me,” he said. “It was time.”

Among the treasures Mr. Pitts is most excited about offering are “a very important Sterling tea and coffee service designed by Donald Colflesh, who was ahead of his time in the late 1950s with the biggest tray ever produced. I found it in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, and it took more than ten years to acquire it for myself,” he said. Also up for auction: “Two silver trumpets, the largest ceramic pot that the kilns of Lenox in Trenton could fire, a giant tankard with a cherub who has Princeton University’s logo on his sweater, throwing a football, from the nineteenth century, and several thousand pieces of jewelry,” he said. “That tankard was in the shop for decoration, but now it’s for sale.”

The decision to close the shop wasn’t easy, but Mr. Pitts doesn’t seem to have regrets. “I’ll miss the people whose paths I crossed,” he said. “It’s Princeton U.S.A., not just Princeton, New Jersey. Everybody’s a somebody. But I live here, so I’ll still get that.”

 

MONTH-LONG FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL: The Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant Scène will present Princeton University’s third annual “Seuls en Scène” French Theater Festival from September 15 through October 11, at venues across the University’s campus. All performances will be in French and are free and open to the public. Pictured here is Adeline Chagneau, Stanley Weber, Audrey Bonnet, and Loic Corbery (left to right) from last year’s “L’ Épreuve” by Marivaux.(Photo by Brigitte Enguerand)

MONTH-LONG FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL: The Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant Scène will present Princeton University’s third annual “Seuls en Scène” French Theater Festival from September 15 through October 11, at venues across the University’s campus. All performances will be in French and are free and open to the public. Pictured here is Adeline Chagneau, Stanley Weber, Audrey Bonnet, and Loic Corbery (left to right) from last year’s “L’ Épreuve” by Marivaux. (Photo by Brigitte Enguerand)

The Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant Scène will present Princeton University’s third annual “Seuls en Scène” French Theater Festival from September 15 through October 11, at venues across the University’s campus. All performances will be in French and are free and open to the public.

The Festival brings celebrated French actors and directors to the University and the local community. This year’s festival includes a hit from the 2013 Avignon Theater Festival, a preview of a new monologue to premiere in France in November, and rarely staged texts by Knut Hamsun, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, and Louis Jouvet. Discussions with the artistic teams will follow a number of the performances. The festival was organized by Florent Masse, senior lecturer in Princeton’s Department of French and Italian.

Nicolas Bouchaud and Judith Henry will perform Projet Luciole (Project Firefly), a highlight of the 2013 Avignon Theater Festival, on September 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. Projet Luciole is created and directed by Nicolas Truong, a journalist and editor at Le Monde. The play features texts by Theodor W. Adorno, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Gilles Deleuze, George Orwell, Jacques Rancière, and Jaime Semprun.

The festival will open on September 15 at 4:30 p.m. in East Pyne Hall, Room 010 with a conversation between Truong and Masse on the development of Projet Luciole and Truong’s longtime contribution as a director and moderator of the intellectual debates at the Avignon Theater Festival. The conversation will be in French and is open to the public.

Arthur Nauzyciel, the artistic director of the National Theater Center of Orléans (CDN Orléans/Loiret/Centre) will direct Faim (Hunger) by Knut Hamsun on October 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. At the intersection of reading and performance, the monologue Faim is in part an autobiographical tale of the terrifying descent of a man who wanders the streets. Xavier Gallais, a well-known French actor, makes his Princeton debut portraying the outcast. Gallais has engineered the adaptation of Hamsun’s novel with his longtime artistic collaborator Florient Azoulay. Faim was first presented at the Théâtre de La Madeleine in Paris before being part of the 2013-14 season at the CDN in Orléans. This production will be accompanied by English subtitles.

Benjamin Lazar represents a new generation of directors whose unique aesthetics have begun to receive critical recognition. Lazar, who has developed a reputation as a specialist in baroque theater, will direct and perform L’Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune (The Other World or the States and Empires of the Moon) on October 4 at 8 p.m. and October 5 at 5 p.m. Lazar created the stage adaptation of this rarely performed story by Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac in which a man strives to go to the moon, convinced that it is a world comparable to our own. Cyrano is best known to American audiences as a character in a play by Edmond Rostand, but Rostand’s Cyrano was based on a real-life 17th century French author. Musicians Florence Bolton and Benjamin Perrot, co-founders of the baroque music ensemble La Rêveuse, will accompany Lazar on stage. L’Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune was first created in 2008 and has since been widely performed. Lazar returns to Princeton for this production, having visited campus last spring to meet with a group of artists and scholars in Princeton’s Program in Latin American Studies and to teach a master class for L’Avant-Scène students.

The Compagnie des Petits-Champs (whose production L’Épreuve by Marivaux was part of Seuls en Scène 2013) will return to Princeton to present Le Voyage en Uruguay (The Trip to Uruguay) by Clément Hervieu-Léger on October 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., and Répertoires: A Staged Reading based on the Drama Classes of Louis Jouvet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique on October 11 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Both shows will be performed at Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater.

In Le Voyage en Uruguay, Hervieu-Léger, a member of the Comédie-Française, revisits the story of an ancestor who brought Norman cattle from across the sea in order to establish a livelihood in a new country. Actor and director Daniel San Pedro, who co-founded the Compagnie des Petits-Champs with Hervieu-Léger, will direct Le Voyage en Uruguay, which is at its core a family history. Guillaume Ravoire, a recent graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, will perform this newly written monologue, which will premiere in Princeton before opening in France in November.

Compagnie des Petits-Champs’ week-long residency will conclude with a staged reading featuring the company’s actors and directors. Comédie-Française member Loïc Corbery, will return to Princeton alongside Audrey Bonnet, a renowned stage performer who won the Best Actress Award in 2013 at les Palmarès du Théâtre, the French equivalent of the Tony Awards. Corbery often collaborates with Hervieu-Léger who recently directed him in the role of Alceste in Le Misanthrope at the Comédie-Française. Bonnet is a member of the Compagnie des Petits-Champs. Last season, she led the company’s production of Yerma by Frederico Garcia Lorca, directed by San Pedro. Répertoires will highlight excerpts from classes by Louis Jouvet, a renowned director, actor, and master teacher at the Conservatoire and one of the premiere artists of the French theater in the years before the Second World War. A selection of classical scenes by Racine, Molière, and Beaumarchais will complement Jouvet’s texts.

During the festival the visiting artists will offer master classes and coaching for Princeton students, as well as participate in theater classes.

Most festival performances will take place in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. The productions by Compagnie des Petits-Champs will be performed at the Whitman College Class of 1970 Theater.

Further information about L’Avant-Scène can be found at www.princeton.edu/~ftw. For more information on the Princeton French Theater Festival, visit www.visitarts.princeton.edu.

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Whitney B. Ross is the new executive director of Trinity Counseling Service (TCS). Ms. Ross is a graduate of Hamilton College and holds a Masters Degree from Harvard University and a PhD from City University of New York. In addition, she completed training in organizational consultation at IPTAR, the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York.

In addition to her work at TCS, Ms. Ross will continue to serve as a trustee on the Board of Religious Ministries at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro where she also sits on the Biomedical Ethics Committee. She is also a trustee of Center for Supportive Schools in Princeton. Ms. Ross succeeds Rev. Peter Stimpson, who retired after leading the TCS for 25 years.

Trinity Counseling Service was founded in 1968. Its mission is to provide quality, individualized clinical and wellness services in a caring environment to all in the community, regardless of their ability to pay. TCS provides approximately 10,000 clinical sessions a year to hundreds of clients from the greater Princeton area.

Trinity Counseling Service invites members of the community to meet Dr. Ross at the annual TCS Fall Benefit: “The Circle Continues” on Saturday September 13 at the Princeton Academy. The event will include dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions, including trips to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida, Maine, and Nantucket. Tickets are available online at www.trinitycounseling.org/fallbenefit.
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Art historian Emily Mark-Fitzgerald will open the 2014-15 Fund for Irish Studies series at Princeton University with a lecture entitled, “Commemorating the Irish Famine,” on Friday, September 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ‘32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public.

Ms. Mark-Fitzgerald, of University College, Dublin, is the author of Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument (Liverpool University Press, 2013), a book exploring the history of the 1840s Irish Famine in visual representation, commemoration, and collective memory from the 19th century until the present, explaining why since the 1990s the Famine past has come to matter so much in the present. She has also launched a website that catalogues a sample of photographic records and information related to these commemorative monuments in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, and the United States — www.irishfamine
memorials.com.

Speaking and publishing regularly on the subject of public art, memory and commemoration, museology and the visual culture of migration/diaspora, and contemporary Irish and international art, Ms. Mark-Fitzgerald is the recipient of major fellowships and research funding from the U.S.-Ireland Alliance (Mitchell Scholarship), Mellon Foundation/Social Science Research Council, Humanities Institute of Ireland, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Irish Academy, Irish Research Council, and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

She is a founding editor of Artefact: the Journal of the Irish Association of Art Historians and the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy.

The Fund for Irish Studies, chaired by Princeton professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics, and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.”

Information on upcoming Fund for Irish Studies series events can be found at fis.princeton.edu.

doris goodwinDoris Kearns Goodwin, world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will speak at Rider University on Tuesday, September 16 at 5 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center. The event, which officially marks the kickoff of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration, is free and open to the public.

Ms. Goodwin’s talk will focus on the leadership lessons of Abraham Lincoln and will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Her award-winning book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, illuminates Lincoln’s political genius and rise to become president.

As a historian, Ms. Goodwin says, “Your hope is that people looking back into the past can see the contours of the present and feel a sense of depth to their own lives and the lives of their countrymen so they don’t feel like they’re confronting problems totally alone.”

Ms. Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. She is also the author of the bestsellers Wait Till Next Year, Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. She earned a PhD in government from Harvard University, and served as assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House.

Advance registration to attend the presentation is required. Register online at www.rider.edu/dkg or call (609) 896-5001. It is the first of many events planned to honor Rider’s sesquicentennial. The year-long celebration will begin in September, and will commemorate the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future. More information can be found at www.rider.edu/150.

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Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton Public Library director Leslie Burger, and Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane were among local notables who read from favorite books at the Library’s Readathon for Adult Literacy on September 4. September is Adult Literary Month in Mercer County, and the event, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., was sponsored by Literacy New Jersey/Mercer County Programs. Also taking a turn at the podium were students, tutors, staff members, and volunteers, reading brief selections from their chosen books. (Photo by Kim Dorman)

Thanks to a stalemate-breaking vote by Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton Council Monday night approved a resolution to raise the governing body’s salaries. The controversial issue had Patrick Simon, Jo Butler, and Jenny Crumiller voting against the resolution, while Lance Liverman, Council president Bernie Miller, and Heather Howard cast their votes in favor.

Before voting yes, Mayor Lempert said she had hoped the matter could have been settled without her stepping in. “I appreciate the attempts at trying to find a compromise,” she said. “But I’m going to vote yes, and I think we’ve debated this for many, many hours of our valuable time.”

The raise brings her salary from $15,000 to $17,500. Council members’ compensation rises from $7,500 to $10,000, while Council president Miller goes from $7,500 to $12,500.

The issue has provoked heated discussion at previous meetings of the Council, and Monday night’s meeting was no exception. Members of the public weighed in as well. Those in favor of the raises have said that the low amount of compensation for all of the hours of work required may discourage people who are not of significant means from serving on the governing body. Those against it have argued that there were salary amounts approved by the former Borough Council and Township Committee before consolidation, and changing them would mean going back on a promise.

“It’s extremely uncomfortable to put money in our own pockets,” Ms. Crumiller said, suggesting that the issue become a public question on the next ballot. But Bob Bruschi, the town’s administrator, said that would be inappropriate because it would politicize the issue. Ms. Crumiller said there was no evidence that adding $2,500 to the compensation would make serving on the Council more appealing. “Twenty-five hundred dollars is just not going to make a difference,” she said.

Mr. Liverman said that amount “for some people, is a lot of money. I think it’s fair.” Ms. Howard commented that she didn’t see the raises as a consolidation issue. Mr. Miller said that since consolidation took effect, there are now seven members of Council doing the work of what 12 people, who served on the former Borough Council and Township Committee, did in the past. Mr. Simon suggested an amendment to the resolution that would make the raises effective when successors to the current Council are appointed. But the option was overruled.

Mr. Bruschi sent a memo last week on the issue to members of Council, including statistics from other communities around New Jersey. He urges giving “serious consideration to raise the annual salary stipend to at least the levels that were discussed. I would argue that there is significant rationale for a stipend in excess of what is being considered.”

He urged Council to focus on the topic from a policy point of view rather than the fact that it was a decision made during consolidation. “Approach the salary matter the same way we would approach it when hiring a new employee,” he wrote. “Look at the job duties, the resident expectations not just for the incumbent but also for the successors. The unintended consequence could be a reality and that is to restrict who might consider running for office by eliminating an economic portion of the community that — because of the need to work or provide for child care service — therefore just can’t afford to make the commitment because of the time and financial impact it would have on the family.”

Mr. Bruschi also suggested Council provide for increases going forward based on the salary and wage approved for non-contractual employees. “In other words, when Council approves an increase of 1.5 percent for the employees, the salaries for those positions would likewise receive the 1.5 percent,” he wrote.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Peter Marks agreed with Ms. Crumiller that there should be a referendum on the subject, but said he was in favor of higher pay for elected officials. “The mayor is as important a position as chief of police or administrator,” he said, suggesting that cuts be made in staff to finance higher pay for members of the governing body. Peter Wolanin, municipal chair of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee, called the resolution “a little narrow” but spoke in favor of the salary increase.

 

A resolution to establish an affordable housing task force to consider development of properties on Clearview and Franklin Avenues was passed by Princeton Council at its meeting Monday night, but only after amendments were made to broaden the resolution so that it doesn’t focus only on those two properties as possible locations for affordable units.

Several members of the public commented for and against the idea before Council members made changes to the resolution and voted it in. The Clearview Avenue properties are part of a land swap between the municipality and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS), in which the town gets the three buildings currently occupied by PFARS and the rescue squad gets the land at the former Princeton Township Public Works site, where they plan to build a new facility.

The Franklin Avenue site is a parking lot opposite the former Princeton Hospital, where demolition is about to begin and a 280-unit rental complex, 57 of which are affordable, will be built by the developer AvalonBay. Princeton University owns the lot but will donate it to the town for a public purpose.

Some members of Council said the focus is too narrow, and should be expanded to include all of the properties owned by the municipality. Mayor Liz Lempert said part of the reason for the resolution was “a pretty unique opportunity” presented by the Clearview Avenue and Franklin Avenue properties. “The municipality is driving the development and has control over it,” she said.

Councilwoman Jo Butler said, “We need to back up and take a more holistic look at all of the properties” owned by the municipality. “I think this is premature. I ask about it repeatedly, so it’s extremely disappointing that it was dealt with this way.”

Resident Alexi Assmus commented that while she strongly supports affordable housing, she opposes “Princeton’s growth into a small city.” The schools are already overcrowded and the town does not have the infrastructure to support the kind of increased density more units would bring. Leighton Newlin, chairman of the Princeton Housing Authority, said that more low-income housing is crucial and the organization would like to work with Princeton Community Housing to develop such units at the Franklin Avenue site.

Other residents urged Council to wait a few years to see what the impact of the rental community at the hospital site is going to be before making a decision. Anita Garoniak, who lives on Harris Road, expressed concerns about increased density. “Nothing should be constructed at the Franklin lot until we see what the impact of AvalonBay will be,” she said. Carol Golden of the town’s Affordable Housing Board said, “There is an urgency. There are people who need housing now, not in five years.”

Scott Sillars of the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee suggested there are other properties in town including the old firehouses on Chestnut and Harrison streets, as well as other surplus sites, that should be considered.

Council accordingly amended the resolution to look at all municipal properties in Princeton rather than just the Franklin and Clearview avenue sites, and the measure was passed. Anyone interested in serving on the task force can get information from the town’s website (www.princetonnj.gov), said Mayor Lempert. The final list of people who will serve on the task force will be announced at the next meeting on September 22.

 

At its first meeting of the school year on Monday, September 15, the faculty at Princeton University is expected to vote on revised policies regarding the way it handles allegations of sexual misconduct. Changes proposed by the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy are designed to bring the University into compliance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Congress authorized in March, 2013, and Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational institutions that get federal funding.

While all other Ivy League schools use the “preponderance” standard that relies on a more-likely-than-not principle when it comes to assessing guilt, Princeton has for years relied on a “clear and persuasive” standard, which insists on a higher burden of proof. This standard is usually associated with criminal proceedings.

The revised policies would bring Princeton in line with the “preponderance” standard. Separate policies, one for a complaint or violation involving a student and the other if it involves a member of the faculty or staff, have been developed. A third refers to when a person not in the University community is involved as a complainant or respondent.

According to information from the University’s Office of Communications, the committee devoted significant time over the summer to the issue. Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been investigating the University’s handling of student disciplinary cases related to sexual misconduct. Princeton is one of several colleges under investigation for alleged Title IX violations.

It was in 2010 that an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law filed a complaint against Princeton for allegedly mishandling reports of sexual assault.

“The University has fully cooperated with the investigation and has also made a number of adjustments to its sexual misconduct policies and disciplinary procedures in response to guidance released by OCR in 2011,” reads a report sent to members of the faculty last week.

The federal office informed the University this past July that changes will need to be made to bring the institution up to speed with Title IX. “It is important that the University come into compliance with both the OCR and the VAWA requirements as promptly as possible,” the report reads, “and ideally before any new cases come forward for adjudication.”

To get this done, the University has established a new faculty-student committee. The proposed changes include using trained investigators rather than members of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. Also recommended is allowing lawyers to accompany any involved parties and giving accusers and accused individuals the right to appeal.

Should the faculty vote in favor of the recommendations at the September 15 meeting, the Council of the Princeton University Community will consider revisions to Rights, Rules and Responsibilities two weeks later, according to The Daily Princetonian.

 

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Imagine being able to get off or on the Dinky just south of Blair Hall. That would have made catching a New York train a cinch for Scott Fitzgerald in the days when he lived on University Place, where the photo was taken. The station moved a quarter mile south to its now-former location in 1917, the year Fitzgerald left school to join the army. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

September 8, 2014
With demolition of the former Princeton Hospital buildings scheduled to start around September 15, residents of the neighborhood surrounding the property gathered  at Witherspoon Hall Wednesday night to ask questions about noise, dust, and possible health hazards. AvalonBay, the developer of the site, held a public meeting at which John Mucha of Yannuzzi Wrecking and Recycling Corporation answered most of the questions.
Mr. Mucha told residents that precautions were being taken against possible health and environmental hazards. The process could take up to six months, he told the crowd of approximately 50 people. Once the buildings are demolished, AvalonBay plans to build a rental complex of 280 housing units, 56 of which have been designated as affordable.
Residents were told that water will be sprayed and misted during demolition, and dust monitors will be in place. “There may be windy days when we need to stop operations because we can’t control the dust,” Mr. Mucha said. “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Noise monitors will also be installed. The developer has hired a noise monitoring company to keep noise levels down, but Mr. Mucha said residents should expect to hear  some sounds of breaking concrete slabs and twisting steel during the process. Several residents aired concerns about contamination from particulates. “With the levels they’re talking about, particulates are not going to make it to your property,” the town’s health officer Jeffrey Grosser told a resident who lives across the street from the site. “But for added protection you can keep your windows closed if you live close by.”
AvalonBay has hired a company to photograph residents’ foundations for documentation in case of damage from construction activity. The developer has also created a website, www.avalonprinceton.com, which is now live. The site will include updates and frequently asked questions, according to Jon Vogel, AvalonBay’s vice president of development.
September 3, 2014
Princeton’s Send Hunger Packing program has challenged celebrity chef Brian Duffy, from the television show “Bar Rescue,”  to use ingredients generally available to low-income families to come up an affordable, easy to prepare, nutritious and tasty meal. Mr. Duffy will take on the challenge Sunday, September 14 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Community Park School. Admission is free to this event, where Mr. Duffy will also help local children cook a meal of their own as a way of demonstrating the personal connection between cooking and nutrition.
Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP) is hosting this family-friendly event to focust on the issue of child hunger in Princeton, and the efforts underway to ensure that school-aged kids have the nutritional resources they need to succeed in school and life. All of the costs have been donated. The event is sponsored by Princeton Human Services, the Princeton Public Schools, and Mercer Street Friends.  Visit shupprinceton.org for more information.
 
THE VOICE ON THE TELEPHONE: Mary Stevens at home in Princeton where she has lived since 1979. Ms. Stevens operated a telephone lifeline for participants in the  Freedom Summer in 1964. She participated in a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the event this summer in Jackson, Mississippi, where she observed that the desk she had used back then is now part of a museum exhibit (http://cofocivilrightseducationcenter.devhub.com/). An exhibit on Freedom Summer will be held later this year at John Witherspoon Middle School and also at Princeton University.http://cofocivilrightseducationcenter.devhub.com/(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

THE VOICE ON THE TELEPHONE: Mary Stevens at home in Princeton where she has lived since 1979. Ms. Stevens operated a telephone lifeline for participants in the Freedom Summer in 1964. She participated in a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the event this summer in Jackson, Mississippi, where she observed that the desk she had used back then is now part of a museum exhibit (http://cofocivilrightseducationcenter.devhub.com/). An exhibit on Freedom Summer will be held later this year at John Witherspoon Middle School and also at Princeton University.http://cofocivilrightseducationcenter.devhub.com/ (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer, some 2500 young activists, civil rights veterans, and historians met for a week in late June at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. Mary Stevens of Princeton was among the three hundred or so veterans of the civil rights project to share memories of the grassroots effort to register as many of Mississippi’s African American voters as possible.

Mississippi changed my life; it made me who I am,” said Ms. Stevens, before going on to describe some history prior to Freedom Summer: “Buses were integrated by the Supreme Court in the 1950s but segregation was the norm in the South. Freedom Riders from the North, both black and white, went South in the early sixties to test the law. They ran into incredible danger. One bus was set afire with people locked inside. People were beaten, jailed, and killed. In the early 1960s only five percent of registered voters in Mississippi were black.”

“But by 1964, publicity had waned; people were still being killed. SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Convention] and CORE [Council of Racial Equality] realized that if white kids from the North, the sons and daughters of the powerful, got involved, then there would be interest and concern,” said Ms. Stevens. “It worked. Freedom Summer, which was organized by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of the Mississippi branches of the four major civil rights organizations, had three parts: Freedom Schools, voter registration, and enrollment in the Freedom Democratic Party.”

Ms. Stevens remembered her own fear on the journey south. “I got rides with SNCC people down to Atlanta. From there I rode with another white gal and three black guys to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We were okay until we got to Alabama, but after that, interracial cars were dangerous. So Wendy and I shrunk down on the floor in back with a blanket over us. We were scared. I’m tall, Wendy was tiny, thank goodness we could fit.”

Ms. Stevens was housed with an African American couple, at some risk to themselves, in the black section of town with dirt streets, and no sidewalks. Although spotlessly clean, the four-room house was old and unpainted; there was no electricity or indoor facilities, only an outhouse and a kerosene lantern. Their host “stayed up in the dark with a shotgun in his lap,” said Ms. Stevens, whose summer 2014 accommodation was an air conditioned room in a suite with bath, kitchen, and living-dining room, shared with a British pediatrician who had been part of Freedom Summer’s medical corps.

“I met lots of people who were thrilled to meet me because I had been the girl on the phone at the COFO headquarters. We were the people who checked in with them twice a day to make sure they were okay, or to see if they needed anything. There were dozens of field offices like Hattiesburg throughout the state and COFO headquarters was their life line. We were their source of protection and their 911. They certainly couldn’t depend on the local police or the FBI if there was trouble. [The telephone was crucial to our safety, she said. Her desk is now part of a museum exhibit. It was nice to see it! visit it at: http://cofocivilrightseducationcenter.devhub.com/]

One of the most tragic events of that time was the murder of three young civil rights volunteers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Earl Chaney on the first day of the project. “Their deaths cast a pall on the whole summer but the fact that two of the victims were white northerners captured the nation’s attention,” said Ms. Stevens. “Black people had been working and suffering for freedom for decades, but up to that point it was seen as just a Southern Problem,” said Ms. Stevens. “Everybody knew immediately that they had been murdered; it was only the racists who suggested that they were alive somewhere.” Their bodies were unearthed on August 4 as a result of a tip from an FBI informant inside the Ku Klux Klan.

Their deaths and the events of Freedom Summer helped to precipitate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A Life in Law

“After Mississippi, I’d saved up enough money from my job as a research technician at Mass General to support myself for a year. I went to Berkeley, California, where I was part of the steering committee of the Vietnam Teach-In,” recalled Ms. Stevens, who hoped to become a lawyer at a time when the field was less than welcoming to women. She became active in NOW, the Woman’s Political Congress, and the Gay Rights Movement, and organized the first national conference on gay law while studying at Rutgers Law School. She went on to teach at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) and retired in 1996. At 72, Ms. Stevens is still active with MOVEON.org and New Jersey groups active in gun control and politics.

Ms. Stevens has three children, a daughter, Elizabeth, 40, from her first marriage and two sons adopted with her second husband, Charlie Parker, who is now deceased. Together, they fostered 37 children as short-term foster care givers. Then they adopted two infants, David, 22, and Isaiah, 20. All three graduated from Princeton High School, David in 2012.

To fund her reunion trip, Ms. Stevens turned to “Go Fund Me,” and elicited $1100 from supporters. To pay back such kindness, she has written about her experiences for alumnae magazines, contrasting 1964 and 2014.

Among the topics at this summer’s conference were contemporary threats to voting rights and the disproportionate incarceration of young black men. “The newest threat,” said Ms. Stevens “is the demand for all kinds of government issued IDs, a measure intended to disenfranchise black, women, and young people. Many people born at home in rural communities don’t have birth certificates, and there are people without any way of getting to the DMV in order to apply for voter IDs,” she said.

“Through all the shared danger, shared commitment, and shared sacrifice, SNCC tried to be ‘the beloved community,’” said Ms. Stevens, quoting the phrase used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

The beloved community was abundantly evident at the 50th Anniversary Conference,” said Ms. Stevens. “Black and white together again.”

art sale stockton

Like last year when this photograph was taken, visitors to the Artsbridge Annual Clothesline Art Sale will find treasures at a sale of work where nothing is priced above $300. Described as offering “art for the cash strapped,” the show includes original paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photography, and crafts. It takes place Sunday, September 7 from noon to 5 p.m. at Prallsville Mill in Stockton. For more information, visit: www.artsbridgeonline.com.

 

The 12th annual Insect Festival sponsored by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County will be held Saturday, September 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mercer Educational Gardens, 431A Federal City Road, Hopewell Township.

Attendees are invited to view seven demonstration gardens — Annual, Butterfly, Cottage, Herb, Native Plant, Perennial, and Weed ID — and talk with Rutgers Master Gardeners who will be on hand to offer tips and display guides for recognizing some of the pesky as well as beneficial insects. Every garden will host an activity that will entertain and teach children of all ages about the incredible and often beautiful insects common to the Northeast.

The event will be held rain or shine; admission is free and on-site parking is available.

Many exciting activities will be offered this year. Viewing tiny organisms through microscopes at the Bugs in Water activity will be back again. Enjoy an insect hunt on the paths cut through the restored meadow or visit with native-bee and honeybee experts who can explain why we need to be less fearful and more respectful of the most important pollinators in our ecosystem. Learn how insect predators, including both bats and birds, can help control insect pest populations and reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Everyone can take a look at red wriggler worms making compost in a simple container that is easy to set up at home, and join in other activities.

Popular events from previous years will continue — butterfly births, Monarch butterfly tagging, bugs galore (insect inspection and handling), the insect puppet show, tattoos, crafts, hayrides, and a discussion with Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer County Horticulturist.  Local environmental agencies will also be present with their experts and displays.

The Master Gardeners of Mercer County is a volunteer educational outreach program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners participate in many volunteer programs throughout the County, as well as answer home horticulture questions through their Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline, (609) 989-6853, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., March through October, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., November through February. For more information on the organization’s educational programs and events, visit www.mgofmc.org.

Award-winning poet Gerald Stern will read from his work for 40 minutes followed by an open-microphone session as part of Poets in the Library, Monday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m. His appearance will be in the library’s Community Room.

Mr. Stern was born in Pittsburgh in 1925 and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books of poetry, including, most recently, In Beauty Bright (Norton 2012) and Save the Last Dance (Norton 2009) as well as This Time: New and Selected Poems, which won the 1998 National Book Award. According to prize-winning poet C.K. Williams, “Stern is one of those rare poetic souls who makes it almost impossible to remember what our world was like before his poetry came to exalt it.”

About In Beauty Bright, Frank Wilson of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, “[Stern’s] style insinuates itself into your consciousness like a catchy tune, so that you find your thoughts echoing its rhythms, bopping from one to another, back and forth, like thought and language doing a jitterbug.”

Besides receiving the 2005 Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets, Mr. Stern was the 2010 recipient of the Medal of Honor in Poetry by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was inducted into the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the 2012 recipient of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. He is also the 2014 winner of the Frost Medal. His new book of poems Divine Nothingness will be released in November.

Poets in the Library is co-sponsored by the library, Delaware Valley Poets and the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative.

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Happy Pic

Don’t they look happy? Romy Toussaint of Romy Yoga, Anne Petco of lululemon, and Patty Cronheim of the Family Guidance Center are the brains behind Happiness Day, taking place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain date Sunday). A marathon of five free one-hour yoga classes on Palmer Square green, the event will also include an “Intro to Happiness” talk by Ed Tseng, a lululemon athletica water lounge, and information on wellness and community service opportunities. Yoga mats will be available and water will be provided for participants. The Family Guidance Center will offer free budgeting assistance, blood pressure screenings, and other  activities. Yoga instruction will be provided by Romy Yoga, Gratitude Yoga, Rise Yoga, Yoga Soul, and YogaStream. For more information, call the Family Guidance Center at (609) 586-0668.

 

At a meeting tonight, September 3, residents of the neighborhood surrounding the former Princeton Hospital property will have a last chance to voice their concerns about demolition of the old hospital buildings to AvalonBay, the developer planning to build a 280-unit rental complex on the site. The company is holding a meeting from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Witherspoon Hall.

Demolition of the old hospital was scheduled to begin on Thursday but has now been postponed and will likely start sometime during the week of September 15, according to the town’s engineer Bob Kiser. The delay is due to the fact that more asbestos needs to be removed from the site. In addition, the internal inspection of an incinerator drain line must be finished prior to demolition.

Mr. Kiser, Princeton’s land use engineer Jack West, health officer Jeffrey Grosser, and construction official John Pettenati will be in attendance. Mayor Liz Lempert said she will split her time between the meeting and a long-planned party to thank volunteers on the town’s boards, committees, and commissions. Council member Jo Butler said she is planning on attending the meeting.

According to AvalonBay senior vice president Ron Ladell, people will be able to ask questions. “And I am sure we will have lots of them,” he said in an email last week. “AvalonBay representatives will be there along with representatives from the demolition contractor.”

Since Princeton Council approved a revised developer’s agreement with the company August 18, AvalonBay has been anxious to begin demolition of the hospital buildings. Pre-demolition work that did not require the signed agreement has been ongoing this summer. Chief among concerns of the surrounding community are safety and the presence of possible toxins.

The revised developer’s agreement has AvalonBay doing some more environmental testing than was original required by the Council. But some residents still have unresolved issues to air.

“My concerns weren’t addressed by the promise to remove four inches of soil ONLY at unpaved areas,” wrote Harris Road resident Areta Pawlynsky in an email on Tuesday.К“A separately located incinerator appears on a 1948 drawing and a 1963 photo clearly shows the earlier smokestack and completely different unpaved areas С so how can such limited removal based on today’s conditions suffice? The toxins routinely flushed by old hospitals aren’t being dealt with.”

Ms. Pawlynsky, an architect, also has concerns that not all of the lead-based paint will be removed before the scraping of structural demolition begins. “Residents deserve real-time reporting from the five air monitors,’ she said. “The little progress made is due to a huge amount of effort by residents.”

Paul Driscoll, another resident of Harris Road, said, “It is the responsibility of our elected officials as well as all appointed boards and commissions, who have a relationship to AvalonBay’s application, to make every possible effort to protect the health, safety, and property of all citizens (most importantly children) throughout the municipality.”

 

When classes begin at Princeton University on Wednesday, September 10, a sizable chunk of the freshman class will have already learned about life beyond the leafy campus and surrounding idyllic town. They are the 174 participants in the school’s Community Action program, a 10-year-old initiative that takes students into Trenton, New York, Philadelphia, parts of Princeton, and other urban areas to help with projects ranging from ladling out soup to building houses.

Participation in the five-day service program, held the week before the freshmen orientation, is voluntary. The students stay in “sleep sites” near their work sites, in church basements and other makeshift facilities, using public transportation if travel is involved.

“This gives students their first experience working with others on service programs,” said Charlotte Collins, assistant director of Community Action. “They tackle issues like human services, health, hunger, and homelessness. They get the opportunity to learn about each other, their communities, and what kind of service they can do.”

Many of the students end up working on these service projects not only during the designated week, but throughout the year via the University’s Pace Center. Programs to which freshmen are assigned this week include cleaning and painting the Horse Trade Theatre Group in New York City, helping the Rescue Mission of Trenton record the stories of adult homeless shelter residents, assisting a neighborhood cleanup through the Trenton group El Centro, and collaborating with Anchor House in Trenton to help at-risk youth.

Students assigned to Camden are gardening, working at a soup kitchen, and helping out in a day shelter. At Trenton’s Isles organization run by University alumnus Marty Johnson, they are helping with urban gardening, cleaning up local parks and riverbeds, and educating families about affordable, green housing opportunities. On Labor Day, they helped the Sierra Club clean up Mercer County Park. Those in Philadelphia will work at the St. Francis Inn soup kitchen, interacting with the homeless who count on the center for food, toiletries, school supplies, and other basic services.

Not all of the sites are in gritty urban areas. Closer to campus, participants are working with the Princeton Senior Resource Center, the YWCA Princeton, the Historical Society of Princeton, the University’s Community House, Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, and Lawrence Nature Center in Lawrenceville.

“The informal motto of the University is ‘in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.’ The concept of community and helping others is woven into the culture here,” said Thomas Roberts, a junior who co-chairs the University’s Community Action coordinating board. “The program helps give incoming freshmen that first page of getting involved.”

Most Community Action programs are run out of the University’s Pace Center. “At Pace, we want to help the students ask critical questions connected to academics and their future careers,” said Ms. Collins. “We want them to think about service, social justice, and how to have a voice in issues they are passionate about. How does that feed into their overall experience at Princeton? We try to highlight the different pathways they can take to have a more well-rounded experience.”

Continuing collaborations are encouraged by the Pace Center, which also oversees student volunteer programs and weekly projects throughout the year. “With some of our community partners, it’s not just a ‘one and done’ situation,” said Ms. Collins. “One of our Princeton area student groups will be spending the day with our own Community House, and they can continue to do that throughout the year.”

The Community Action program started a decade ago as Urban Action. It has continued to attract freshmen committed to community service. “They’ll have ample time to explore and learn about the University,” said Mr. Roberts. “But we think it’s critical that they learn about what’s beyond the campus. We want to create a well-rounded and thorough experience that helps them understand the world beyond their everyday experience.”

 

People are talking in Ferguson. They are talking in Chicago. And they are talking in Princeton. After the August 24 rally protesting the fatal shooting by a white police officer of the unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the organization Not in Our Town (NIOT) offered concerned locals a chance to continue to speak about racism last Thursday at the Princeton Public Library.

Co-sponsored by NIOT and the Princeton Public Library, the special event, “Continuing Conversation on Race,” aimed to provide a safe and confidential place for frank and meaningful discussion in the wake of the rally that had seen well over a 100 protesters march down Nassau and Witherspoon Streets to Hinds Plaza.

NIOT’s Linda Oppenheim, an industrial relations librarian at Princeton University’s Firestone Library, welcomed about 25 participants to the library, including Wilma Solomon, Jim Floyd, Shirley Satterfield, and the library’s Kim Dorman. A poster showed an enlarged version of the recent cartoon by Ben Sargent, titled “Still Two Americas,” depicting two identical situations of young boys going outside to play, each saying: “I’m goin’ out, Mom!” One kid is white. the other is black. In the case of the white kid, Mom replies: “Put on your jacket.” In the case of the black kid, Mom says: “Put on your jacket, keep your hands in sight at all times, don’t make any sudden moves, keep your mouth shut around police, don’t run, don’t wear a hoodie, don’t give them an excuse to hurt you, don’t …”

“Raising consciousness of what black moms have to do is what we are here for,” said Ms. Oppenheim, using the cartoon as a conversation starter and introducing some discussion guidelines that included “listen actively; don’t interrupt; speak from your own experience, using “I” rather than ‘we,’ ‘you,’ or ‘they.’”

August 14 Pew Research Center statistics were made available. The survey shows that 80 percent of blacks as opposed to 37 percent of whites believe that the shooting of Mr. Brown raises important issues about race. It reports that 65 percent of blacks and 33 percent of whites think that the police response to the shooting “has gone too far,” and that 52 percent of whites as opposed to 18 percent of blacks had confidence in shooting investigations.

In addition, an excerpt from the August 14 blog, “What Matters with Janee Woods,” offered 12 suggestions for “Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder.” The list included: “Learn about the radicalized history of Ferguson [and your community] and how it reflects the radicalized history of America”; “Understand the modern forms of race oppression and slavery and how they are intertwined with policing, the courts, and the prison industrial complex”; and “Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.”

To get the discussion on such sensitive issues underway, Ms. Oppenheim quoted Richard Harwood (www.theharwoodinstitute.org) on the need for communities to “have opportunities and spaces to engage in constructive conversations where they can express their anger, pain and frustration in public ways.”

Emotional Topic

Among the first to speak was a young African American woman who teared up as she described her own inter-racial family and the crucial need for “identity awareness.” “America is truly a melting pot and generations to come will have friends of all different backgrounds; we need to teach respect for others and realize that there is no ‘inferior’ race,” said B. Virtue Mitchell, one of three generations of her Princeton family to graduate from Princeton High School (PHS). “I will not walk with anger or fear,” she said. “And I refuse to be a victim. Whether we want change or not, it’s here.”

At 92, Jim Floyd, former mayor of Princeton Township, has seen a great deal of change, not all of it positive. Mr. Floyd shared his knowledge of Princeton history, especially the history of the African American community, Palmer Square and the Jackson/Witherspoon neighborhood. “I’ve seen the Colored signs in the railroad cars and faced discrimination when trying to buy a home in Princeton. I don’t ask you to fight my battles, but don’t be an enemy,” he said, addressing the white participants. The questions to ask in Princeton today, said Mr. Floyd, are “how diverse is our governing body, our police department, our school system.” Mr. Floyd went on to describe coming to Princeton from Trenton and running for Township Committee in order to promote affordable housing in Princeton.

Pointing out that Paul Robeson Place was formerly Jackson Street, Mr. Floyd, recalled urban renewal efforts of the 1930s and 1950s that displaced African American residents from what is now Palmer Square, relocating or destroying black homes in the center of town and pushing residents further down the Witherspoon/Jackson corridor. “The only place segregation disintegrates is in the bank line,” said Mr. Floyd, quoting his father.

He cited the experience of black property owner Burnett Griggs, owner of Griggs’ Imperial Restaurant, which he ran for 42 years until his retirement at age 83. Mr. Griggs also owned 26 acres where Griggs Farm is today.

“I lived this history in Princeton, I know how we were treated in this town,” said Shirley Satterfield, who conducts an informative tour of Princeton’s African American history for the Historical Society of Princeton. Ms. Satterfield, a former PHS counselor, went on to describe inequality in Princeton’s schools, particularly with respect to the choir. After hearing that black children felt discouraged, she had started the “Inspirational Choir.”

One woman whose daughter had been a PHS student, reported her daughter’s contrasting experiences of shopping with black friends on Nassau Street as compared to visiting the same stores with her white friends on another occasion. Ms. Oppenheim asked whether any of the black people present had experienced suspicion on the part of shop owners. The response clearly showed that they they had.

Many people shared their own experiences of growing up in Princeton. One white woman described her friendship with a black teen from Birmingham, Alabama at PHS in the 1960s. “Oscar played the oboe and I played the French horn, we used to write poetry together, taking turns to contribute a line,” she recalled. But when Oscar was her escort to the school prom, “all hell broke loose,” she reported, adding that through this important friendship she had “learned how wonderful it was to play with someone without paying any attention to racial background and I’d love to have that experience again.”

What can be done?

It was suggested that music would be a way to transcend racial divides, which led to further discussion of Princeton’s schools and the lack of African Americans in the PHS choir. One person suggested “white privilege” could explain this saying that by the time children were selected for the choir, more white than black kids had benefitted from music lessons.

“We need to work with the schools, level the playing field for the black kids,” said one. While some suggested that the high school would be a good place to start, others thought that high school was too late.

Ms. Oppenheim spoke of the need for adults to examine their own views. “Are we ready to speak up in opposition to racism in circumstances which might be uncomfortable?” she asked.

“I don’t want to forget that I have biases and racism inside of me,” offered one white male participant. “I have to be conscious of the truth of what happened in this country. We can only be truly free if we can acknowledge the truth of what happened here. Slaves didn’t come here because they wanted to and we need to talk about that if killings like Michael Brown are ever going to end.”

One former teacher commented that it was unfortunate that “the sort of truth and reconciliation that happened in South Africa hasn’t happened here. White people need to talk more to white people about race,” she said and described her students’ resistance to such discussions and their belief that racism ended with slavery. The difficulty of engaging teens on the topic of racism was also the experience of the group’s youngest participant, a Princeton Day School student.

Socioeconomic status came into the conversation, as did the idea that in some communities the idea of academic success is regarded as not cool. Is this an issue for black kids? one person asked.

But before the conversation could continue, the library closing announcement was heard. NIOT holds a monthly “Conversation at the Princeton Public Library, usually on the first Monday of the month; the next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 6.

For more on the history of the African American community in Princeton, including a self-guided walking tour visit the Historical Society of Princeton: www.princetonhistory.org.

For an article on the history of Princeton’s African American Community, see the Princeton Magazine article: http://bit.ly/1osLycA.

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The Princeton University campus is bustling again this week as the Class of 2018 makes its presence felt. The four freshmen shown here are on their way up the steps under the Blair Arch. To hear what some of the new arrivals are looking forward to, see this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

August 29, 2014

University Place, which has been closed from College Road to Alexander Street, will reopen to vehicular traffic this morning, Thursday, August 28. The temporary traffic signal at the intersection of College Road and Alexander Street will be in “flash” mode today, August 28 and tomorrow, August 29; it will then be removed. The TigerPaWW bus stop will remain at College Road, across from the entrance to McCarter Theatre Center. Bus schedules will not change. Please follow posted signs when walking, biking and/or driving through the area. Updated maps showing vehicular, pedestrian, and bike detours are available on the Arts and Transit Project website. For more information, call 609-258-8023.

August 27, 2014

The Princeton Pedestrian and Bike Advisory Committee is looking for original art to be on the cover of a new “Biking in Princeton” map that is being developed. Artists or photographers interested in submitting an image that might be appropriate for the map can do so by Wednesday, September 10. The committee would like submissions in a digital file rather than hard copy, sent to pjpbac@gmail.com. Entries will be accepted until midnight. Artists will be donating their images to be shared with the public, but will be credited.