A political profile of Albert Einstein contains the following:
The town of Princeton, New Jersey, where Einstein lived (and for that matter, its university), though only a short drive from New York, might well have been in the old southern Confederacy.I don’t doubt most of you found this brief excerpt interesting on many counts. You may also think as I do that the profile author, John J. Simon, meant to say Anderson stayed with Einstein when she sang in Princeton, not "New Jersey."
Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, called it a “Georgia plantation town.” Access to housing, jobs, and the university itself (once led by the segregationist Woodrow Wilson) were routinely denied to African Americans; protest or defiance were often met with police violence. Einstein, who had witnessed similar scenes in Germany and who, in any event was a longtime anti-racism militant, reacted against every outrage.
In 1937, when the contralto Marion Anderson gave a critically acclaimed concert in Princeton but was denied lodging at the segregated Nassau Inn, Einstein, who had attended the performance, instantly invited her to stay at his house.
She did so, and continued to be his guest whenever she sang in New Jersey, even after the hotel was integrated.
I was touched by Einstein’s decent gesture and delighted to learn Anderson and Einstein were friends.