Stockton University Removes Bust of Its Namesake, a Declaration of Independence Signer Who Also Owned Slaves

Bust of Stockton, a Founding Father, to be contextualized


In the midst of a series of protests across the nation regarding controversial statues, Stockton University in New Jersey recently removed a bust of its namesake, Richard Stockton, from its library entrance. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, Stockton also owned slaves.

University President Harvey Kesselman told the Press of Atlantic City that although the bust was just removed on Aug. 23, Stockton’s identity as a slave-owner has been a point of contention on campus for some time.

He noted the statue “was never placed in context.” In a statement released Aug. 28, Kesselman announced the establishment of the Richard Stockton Exhibit Committee, which will plan the reinstallation of the bust in a setting that explains its historical context and controversy.

“We are hopeful that through the development of the Richard Stockton Exhibit we will demonstrate that difficult issues can be dealt with in a way that strengthens and unites us,” the statement reads.

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