February 2 will be Walter Harris Day.  A Princeton Borough police officer, he was shot and killed in the line of duty on February 2, 1946.  Greta Cuyler writes about it for Princeton Patch.

What caught my eye was this paragraph: The grandson of slaves, Walter Harris was born in Princeton and grew up on Jackson Street, which later became Paul Robeson Place. The family’s house was moved to Birch Street when Palmer Square was being developed and the trolley used to run in back of the Harris’ house.

What is now Palmer Square was formerly an a neighborhood of African Americans, many of whom worked at the university.  Those who now live in what is sometimes known as “the Witherspoon neighborhood”  remember the displacement.

Palmer Square is now, indeed, a tremendous asset to Princeton for both tourists and townies. It is a wonderful gathering place. But, as Sheldon Sturges says, it was “an enormous social  justice wound.”

For the Historical Society of Princeton, Shirley Satterfield has put together a wonderful tour of the African American history of Princeton — and anyone can take it, any time, via cellphone.

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