History: King's College

The fifth college founded in Britain’s North American colonies, King’s College, Columbia’s direct predecessor, opened its doors in July 1754 on a beautiful site in downtown New York City with a view of New York harbor, New Jersey, and Long Island.  Not far away, at Wall and Pearl Streets, stood the municipal slave market. More...

Historical Figures: Joe

Joe, a slave owned by George Washington's stepson John Parke Custis, resided at King's College prior to the Revolution. There were other slaves at the College during this time period, but Joe is the only slave whose name has been preserved in the historical record. More...

Slavery Research Process

Much of the content found on this website was derived from student research in the Columbia University & Slavery class.  Students spent significant time with archival resources to develop the narrative found here. More...

We hope that this website, very much a work in progress, will contribute to public understanding of the key role slavery has played in our nation’s history and offer an example to other institutions of higher learning as they pursue their own investigations.

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History
Student Researchers Examine Slavery and Columbia’s Early History | Columbia News