Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church has been a church home for generations of Princetonians for the last 175 years.
African American Roots
Betsey Stockton (c. 1798–1865) was an African American educator and missionary born into slavery in Princeton, NJ. She gained her freedom at 20 and travelled to Hawaii, Canada and Philadelphia teaching and serving as a nurse. She moved back to Princeton in 1835 and spent the rest of her life enriching the lives of the members of the local African American community. There is a window memorialized to her in the church.
A Church for the Future
Witherspoon Street Presybterian Church
124 Witherspoon Street
Princeton NJ 08542-3224
Born in 1898 he became one of Princeton's best known residents. Son of a former slave, the Reverend William Robeson of the Witherspoon Street Church, Robeson achieved fame as an athlete, a singer and actor, a scholar, a law school graduate and a political activist, for which he was persecuted during the McCarthy era. He eventually quit his film career because he was dissatisfied with the types of roles that were available for black performers. He lived abroad in voluntary exile for five years, returning to the United States in 1962. Robeson spoke about discrimination and civil rights before it was “popular” to speak out against these causes and also covered topics like communism, and blacklisting. WSPC formed a coalition to raise funds to purchase his boyhood home at 110 Witherspoon Street, maintaining what is now referred to as the Paul Robeson House. The overall goal of maintaining the Robeson House is to promote the ideals that Robeson supported in his humanitarian efforts.