At the end of the 19th century, just two generations away from
slavery, a girl blessed with a talent for singing was born in Philadelphia. Her
name was Marian Anderson and she was musically gifted, but she was Black. Time
and time again she had the door shut in her face in a country that espoused
“separate but equal” but in reality was anything but.
On the other side of the ocean, a German-born Jew was developing
theories that would turn the scientific world upside down. By the 1930s he was famous,
but anti-Semitic laws made life in Germany impossible. The scientist was barred
from teaching and his property was confiscated. That man was Albert Einstein
and he was forced to flee as a refugee.
One evening in 1937, these two
unlikely kindred spirits would begin a life-long friendship. Marian was performing
in Princeton, New Jersey, to an all-white audience. The theater was full and
the show was a hit, but she had nowhere to stay the night. The local hotel was
for Whites only. Without missing a beat, Albert offered the singer his spare
room. It became an open invitation Marian would accept many times over the
Einstein later wrote that racism was America’s “worst disease…
Read more about this beautiful friendship in The Singer and the Scientist.