Pi Day is coming, and bringing with it pi day celebrations, pi pun fun, pies, dinners of (Pi)napple (Pi)zza & a (Pi)nt …and Einstein’s birthday (born March 14, 1879).
Equality = Magnanimity x Compassion Squared.
When Einstein became an American citizen in 1940, he immediately began advocating for the Civil Rights movement. He stated, “As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail.” He saw racism as an atrocity, a disease, and said “I will not be silent about it”. Indeed, he wasn’t.
I mentioned this to someone i greatly respect the other day and he said he hadn’t known about this aspect of Einstein’s contributions, but he wasn’t surprised because Einstein was quite a thinker. And i wasn’t surprised he didn’t know, because history has a way of forgetting heroism, selectively.
Einstein very clearly lived Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s call to action: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
If alive today, do you think Einstein would be a vocal supporter of the movements toward equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ and the non-theist communities?
- Was a member of the NAACP
- Spoke at Lincoln University in 1946, the world’s oldest black university. Einstein never accepted invitations to speak at universities – but he accepted this one. The student body at that time consisted of 265 men.
- You may recall an reflection we posted at the passing of Julian Bond in 2015. Julian’s father, Horace Bond, was president of Lincoln University, and Einstein was among guests in their home during Julian’s childhood.
- Corresponded with W.E.B. Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP, and helped defend him against a federal indictment in 1951.
- Served as the co-chair of the American Crusade to End Lynching
- He published an essay called The Negro Question in which he called racism the country’s “worst disease”. He also stated in that essay: 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…
The Hidden Half-Life of Albert Einstein: Anti-Racism, article from 2011 in the Journal of the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy
Einstein’s Theory of Equality, from Kindness Blog
Einstein’s Politics, speech by Wells Wulson, Stanford University
Einstein as a Secular Humanistic Jew, Bennett Muraskin, Council of Secular Jewish Organizations
Albert Einstein, Civil Rights Activist, by Ken Gewertz, Harvard Gazette