In 1931, when the Scottsboro Boys were falsely accused of rape, Einstein backed a campaign to defend them.
In 1933 he fled Nazi Germany, coming to the US.
In 1937, when Princeton’s Nassau Inn would not give Marian Anderson a room because of her skin colour, he did.
In 1946 he said:
The separation of the races is not a disease of colored people, but a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.
There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.
Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”
I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself. …
I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.
What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.
I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.
In 1946 he joined Paul Robeson’s American Crusade Against Lynching and was therefore seen by the FBI as a friend to communists.
In 1951 he appeared in court as a character witness for W.E.B. Du Bois.
– Abagond, 2016.
- Albert Einstein
- Marian Anderson
- Paul Robeson
- “It was the times!”
- What they do not teach you about anti-racism at American high school