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Einstein on Race and Racism Hardcover – July 11, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0813536170 ISBN-10: 0813536170 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (July 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813536170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813536170
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Albert Einstein was a genius and, apparently, a race man. Drawing upon extensive research, authors Jerome and Taylor-a journalist and a librarian, respectively-show the Nobel Prize-winning physicist to have been fairly active in the civil rights movements of the 1940s. It's clear the authors believe that this fact constitutes some sort of hidden truth, and they're reasonably correct: numerous historians left out the details of Einstein's controversial alliances with W.E.B. Dubois, the NAACP, the Civil Rights Congress and the Southern Conference Educational Fund. The authors saturate the first half of the book with comments from the black inhabitants of Princeton's Witherspoon Street. Their quotes are anecdotal at best and show little more than that Einstein was a friendly man who wasn't afraid of black people. A few of the quotes are telling in ways the authors may not intend: "My grandmother worked as a domestic for Einstein...When Professor Einstein had visitors, they sat and ate in the dining room; she listened from the kitchen." Others such as "me and my sister Lili used to watch Einstein walking up Witherspoon Street" record merely that black people witnessed Einstein's presence in their neighborhood. Einstein's provocative statements on American bigotry-"Everyone who is not used from childhood to this injustice suffers from the mere observation"-are reserved for the book's second half, which presents his letters and speeches. A useful compilation for students of Einstein's politics, this book lacks the kind of strong narrative thread that might have brought it a wider audience. 8 pages of b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"As any reader of Faulkner knows, Princeton University before the Second World War was a southern university, and the town of Princeton adopted corresponding racial attitudes. In 1933 into this community came Albert Einstein, fresh from cosmopolitan Weimar Berlin and with the example of how Nazi anti-Semitism was helping to destroy all that was best in German culture. This book tells the story of how he reacted to the racism he saw around him, and to the fight-back against it by Princeton's long-established black community. It is a fascinating story and, unfortunately for our country, it is not just history but a contribution to contemporary struggles against American racism, at home and abroad.
"
(John Stachel director of the Center for Einstein Studies, Boston University 20990101)

"For many people around the world, Einstein's name is a household word, and yet Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor's important new book reveals in startling ways how little we know about his profound insights into the realities of race and racism. Who knew? Fortunately for all of us, Einstein's ideas and insights on this issue are as timely and instructive as his most advanced scientific contributions. We owe Fred and Rodger a huge debt of gratitude.
"
(Danny Glover 20990101)

"In Einstein on Race and Racism, the authors remind us that it is significant to achieve consciousness through education. Through their historical analysis, they unveil the interconnection that existed between Paul Robeson and Einstein, so as to ensure that contemporary scholars understand humanizing pedagogy and civic responsibilities. This is insightful scholarship that explores race and racism, drawing on the analytical insights of innovative giants of divergent social and professional recognition.
"
(Prosper Godonoo Director, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Rutgers University 20990101)

"Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor paint a compelling portrait of an Einstein who has been almost completely absent from the public record: the man who co-chaired a committee that pushed for federal anti-lynching legislation, who joined the campaign to save the 'Scottsboro boys,' who helped sponsor the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, who became a close friend and supporter of Paul Robeson, who frequently strolled through Princeton's African-American neighborhoods-in short, a man not afraid to use his fame to battle the racism that plagued America (and Princeton, both town and university) during his years in the U.S. This is a side-an important side-of the great physicist and pacifist that anyone interested in the man, and his times, will find eye-opening.

"
(Sharon Begley science writer and coauthor of The Mind and the Brain 20990101)

"This book continues the process of peeling back the politics of Albert Einstein to reveal a vital (and up to now invisible) layer of anti-racism activities. It demonstrates, through Einstein's example, how not to 'stand idly by' in the face of America's most pernicious problem-racism.

"
(Dorothy M. Zellner civil rights activist, member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 20990101)

"While Albert Einstein is most famous for his theory of relativity, he held fervently to some moral absolutes, few more precious than his heroic and passionate anti-racist writing and activism. Einstein on Race and Racism brilliantly recovers the engaging, principled, and courageous views of one of history's most famous scientists, whose anti-racist writings have been ignored, overlooked, even hidden from the world by his biographers and custodians. Thanks to Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, we have unimpeachable evidence that the 'Man of the Century' wrestled fearlessly and insightfully with what his friend W.E.B. Du Bois termed the century's greatest problem: the color line. This is one of the year's most important books."
(Michael Eric Dyson author of The Michael Eric Dyson Reader 20990101)

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Customer Reviews

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This book presents a revealing, fascinating and compelling side of Albert Einstein relative to the Black community.
Flo
The so-called "black experience" is central to our understanding of the world and permeates every aspect of social organisation as we understand it today.
Amazon Customer
This book should be a requirement in every public library and recommended reading in many college & high school history curriculums.
Pam K.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pam K. on October 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a timely, fascinating and important read about the common ground between Albert Einstein and members of the African American community of Princeton, NJ in the 40's. This book should be a requirement in every public library and recommended reading in many college & high school history curriculums. The example of fearlessness of Einstein, Robeson, DuBois and others in their activism against racism in America and abroad is one that needs to be emulated in today's society... if change is to come. The authors, Jerome and Taylor have produced and excellent literary work.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pamela R. Purifoy on October 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I never would have thought of the genius Albert Einstein to be concerned about race, but apparently he was, as Jerome and Taylor have carefully documented. I'm glad to know that the great cultural icon, Einstein, was more than a mathematician and physicist, he was a concerned citizen of the world. Perhaps we all can examine ourselves closer as we explore our views on race and racism in our society today. This book could be an excellent teaching tool for an honors or AP course in history for high school students, or for a political science course in college.

Good and insightful information.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Flo on October 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book presents a revealing, fascinating and compelling side of Albert Einstein relative to the Black community. The story is totally unknown and undocumented anywhere else. It provides an example of how racism is treated in our society. Denial of the existence of racism and overlooking the impact of the problem will never lead to a appropriate way to address, and certainly not solve the reprecussions suffered because of racism.It is an impotant work that should awaken a sleeping society.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Le Mone on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is a tremendous piece of writing on a subject little known to the general public. It's an important contribution that adds to Einstein's genious, his humanity, his sense of justice for all people living in the narrow straits of prejudice.

It's authors have done a permanent service for both Paul Robeson and Einstein, Princton's African American community and the history of a period probably hidden from view on purpose.

Einstein on Race and Racisn by Jeerome and Taylor should be required reading for high school, college and the general public. It's just that important.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've always personally felt Einstein to be a genius and much more than popular thought gave him credit for as an individual (being a fellow "gifted introvert" myself). I have this quote of his which I love and which is my favorite quote of all time:"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds". Now I know what he was talking about (WINK). On a more serious note-this book is good because history is always taught from such a narrow perspective- like what is in the history books about Nazi Germany or the Civil Rights Movement. The same information recycled over and over again like some conspiracy of silence- not inspiring us or truly enlightening us (which is the purpose of REAL education). The pages of this book offers a miraculously fresh perspective to history- bringing it to life and showing it to be more nuanced and complicated. EVERYONE is implicated.The so-called "black experience" is central to our understanding of the world and permeates every aspect of social organisation as we understand it today. People who enjoy miraculously new perspectives might like to read: The African Presence in Early Asia/ Early Europe by Ivan Van Sertima, Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation by John Hobson and The Destruction of Black Civilisation by Chancellor Williams.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Miki Hayden on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reading this, I certainly discovered a great deal about the history of Princeton (the town and the university), J. Edgar Hoover (scary guy), and Albert Einstein (a true giant as both scientist and human being). I can't understand why the *Publishers Weekly* review was so snarky, in fact, implying that Einstein was an unconscious bigot. That is not the picture that emerges in this quite well-documented presentation. The book definitely contributes to our knowledge of the best-known thinker of our times, a man prevented from working on the Manhattan Project because of his liberal views.
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By Nova on July 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
Very insightful
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I've recently begun reading this publication, I find it quite refreshing to discover that the late great Albert Einstein, grandfather of the Theory of Relativity had a social conscious. It's no surprise that his activist side is dramatically played down however sad. If this fact were wider known it would have had huge implications on race relations in the US and abroad. God bless the legacy of Albert Einstein! I've gained a whole new respect for him as a person, icon and scientist. Additionally, this book exposes the poisonous side of the Ivy League pedigree of Princeton University...an historical perspective of it's inception and how the Black presence played a paramount role.
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