Columbia Seminary produces timeline looking at the seminary’s links to slavery and racism

Many of the online slides focus on the earliest and largest donations to the seminary prior to emancipation

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Columbia Theological Seminary (Photo provided)

DECATUR, Georgia — The C. Benton Kline, Jr. Special Collections is pleased to present A Window into the Breach: Theology and the Economy of Slavery at Columbia Theological Seminary, 1824-1899, a timeline consisting of 41 slides looking at racism and the institution of slavery in the 19th century as it relates to the history of Columbia Theological Seminary. 

Many of the slides focus on the earliest and largest donations that the seminary received prior to emancipation, as well as publications, events, and individuals associated with the seminary through this time, including Thomas Smyth, James Henley Thornwell, and John Lafayette Girardeau. Select post-Civil War events and individuals are also highlighted as specifically related to racism and the seminary, memory of the Civil War, and Presbyterian churches throughout the South.  

Enslaved Africans and African Americans contributed their lives while in bondage to the flourishing and growth of Columbia Theological Seminary in the Antebellum South and it is to this end that their names have been given when available. 

Please note that some of the slides that contain information that may be sensitive to some viewers.  

About the John Bulow Campbell Library

The John Bulow Campbell Library provides services designed to support and enhance teaching, learning and research, including reference, circulation, reserves, interlibrary loan, and interlibrary use. For more information, visit the John Bulow Campbell Library here or the C. Benton Kline Jr. Special Collections here. 

About Columbia Theological Seminary  

Columbia Theological Seminary’s exists to cultivate faithful leaders for God’s changing world. Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church and the world. Columbia offers six masters and doctoral degree programs, and opportunities for continuing education through The Center for Lifelong Learning. In the fall of 2019, Columbia committed to the Transforming Community Conferencing (TCC) process with Dr. David Hooker. This process is designed to unearth Columbia’s deep narratives and invite the community to adopt and live into a new preferred narrative. More information about the TCC process is forthcoming. For more information, visit   

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