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Einstein on Race and Racism Paperback – July 25, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 2099-01-01)

"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 2099-01-01)

"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 2099-01-01)

"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 2099-01-01)

"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 2099-01-01)

"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 2099-01-01)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; New edition edition (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813539528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813539522
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After hearing the author, Fred Jerome, on the radio, I was mesmerized to learn of Albert Einstein's close ties with Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois and his relationship with the Black community. He went out of his way to know the Black people in segregated Princeton (Yes! Princeton, New Jersey was as segregated as any state in Dixie!) Einstein said he felt at home in that part of town and published articles and openly criticized the racist policies prevalent in the United States towards people of color. Yes, he really was a very intelligent man. His theory of relativity is only a small part of who he was. Everyone should read this book!!!!
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exceptional book that significantly adds to the legend and legacy of one of the greatest scientists ever. Unfortunately, information about Einstein's perspective on racism and civil rights in America seems to be purposely omitted from the other high profile books that I've read about Einstein. My mother was a research assistant for Einstein at the University Of Illinois when she was studying for her masters degree in Physics in the early 50s. She had always told me that Einstein was a champion against racism and a staunch and outspoken supporter of civil rights for Black people. This is the first book that I've read that confirms it. Bravo!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you really think you know Albert Einstein, then read this book. This book is an EYE OPENER. Einstein was a great scientist and a wonderful
humanitarian. He is way more than you can imagine. Only this book can define the depth of this marvelous piece of humankind.
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What's not to love about Einstein: a beautiful soul shares his insights on America's racism, and what could be done to transform this country to do away with it. Another book for high school students, and an inspiration for science and music.
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