Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Einstein & Segregation in Princeton

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.

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 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."

I was touched by Einstein’s decent gesture and delighted to learn Anderson and Einstein were friends.

8 comments:

Ralph Phelan said...

Marion Anderson was a musical genius being unjustly mistreated for the color of her skin.

You are a useless dolt being appropriately prevented from making noise where the grownups are trying to talk.

The only way Einstein would have let you into his house was if he wanted to experiment with a substance of infinite density.

Danvers said...

Just a Thought:

I just visited your blog - it's empty! Just like your mind?

Danvers said...

It's already tomorrow where I live, and your blog is still empty.
Perhaps Accountants fron Afganistan don't understand time zones

JWM said...

Dear Ralph,

Just a Thought is a troll you helped expose.

Now that that's known I hope you look at troll's posts as no longer needing your attention since I'll delete them as soon as I see them.

Dear Danvers,

This is the first time I've seen you comment here.

Welcome.

Best to you both,

John

Danvers said...

Hi John

Thanks for the welcome. I am an avid fan of your blog - and have been for many months. I have posted before, but anonymously.

You also helped me out by posting a comment for me on the N&O editors' blog regarding Mel Sill(y)'s refusal to respond to your questions.

Hope all in Durham and at Duke get what they deserve

Best regards

Ralph Phelan said...

OK, I'll stop teasing the monkey.

Too bad his blog is empty so I can't go do it there; I was having fun.

Anonymous said...

The DOJ's response seems strange given that the State requested federal involvement. This looks like politics at its worst and another example of a double standard of justice. Had the lacrosse players been black, a federal investigation would have been done and completed months ago, and many others besides Nifong would have been held accountable.

Regarding it's time to move on comments, I would ask if those commenters would feel the same way if it were their sons whose civil rights were abused and who faced many troubles and dangers, including 30 years in prison for crimes that never occurred.

Ralph Phelan said...

Just a Thought said...

John, if you want me to continue refraining from teasing the monkey, you're going to have to clean up the poop he flings.