10. African American Life and Neighborhood in Princeton

Paul Robeson-Birch Avenue-African American Neighborhood-Princeton-New Jersey

A visit to Princeton would not be complete without a visit to the Birch Avenue area to reflect on the role African Americans have played in the development of Princeton town and campus. While this working-class community previously centered around what is now Palmer Square, urban development plans led to the relocation of the community to Birch Avenue and surroundings, where they have continued to fight displacement over the decades. Among the notable from the community include Paul Robeson, the first African American to perform on Broadway (known for singing Ol’ Man River in Showboat). The Historical Society of Princeton has a map you can follow for a walking tour of the neighborhood.

Adjacent to this neighborhood is the Princeton Cemetery, where you’ll find the grave of Grover Cleveland, Aaron Burr and his father, the daughter of Joseph Stalin, George Gallup (of the Gallup poll) and many other notable Americans.

Princeton is an easy day trip from New York City, or an overnight weekend stay for more extended exploration. Start with the Historical Society of Princeton and the Princeton Battlefield, and explore the town’s rich history over the course of centuries, check out the Princeton Tour Company for guided walking tours, and follow the path of the 10 Crucial Days Campaign with the Princeton Battlefield Society.

Next, check out the 10 historic mansions to visit on Long Island’s Gold Coast.