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This Week in Princeton History for February 13-19

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a professor attempts to calm local protests, students are arrested after defacing buildings in Trenton and Lawrenceville, and more.

February 13, 1911—Louis Meyer, a Presbyterian who was raised Jewish, lectures to a large group of Princetonians in McCosh Hall’s East Room, which seats 600. As one of the progenitors of the American Hebrew-Christian movement, which will later become better known as Messianic Judaism, Meyer’s work focuses on converting other Jews to Christianity.

February 17, 1967—Princeton’s Students for a Democratic Society host the first regional Radical Education Project conference, where they unveil their “Port Authority Statement.” It encourages white collar workers to become revolutionaries who reject American imperialism and embrace Marxism.

February 18, 1935—Acting in a capacity as emergency arbitrator, Princeton University professor Charles Erdman, Jr. informs 200 unemployed protesters at the local Social Service Bureau that there is inadequate funding to meet their demands. Erdman says that there has been no discrimination from the Bureau, but Black residents argue otherwise.

February 19, 1902—Twelve students are arrested in Trenton for malicious mischief after painting “‘05” on the battle monument, twenty houses on Princeton Avenue, and several farms in Lawrenceville. The incident will make headlines nationwide. Urging upperclassmen to rein in the lower classes, the Princeton Alumni Weekly will observe with frustration,

the freshmen went about their work of painting this part of the state with more thoroughness than ever before, and were so self-sacrificing for the cause that some of them might have frozen to death if they had not taken refuge in a farm-house, whence they were conveyed to Princeton, with feet wrapped in grain bags, by a rescuing party in a sleigh.

A man holding a paintbrush and paint can standing in front of a wall with "1905" painted on it
This illustration in the Class of 1905’s Nassau Herald looks back on their 1902 arrests.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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