On May 3, 1946, Albert Einstein was invited to the campus of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, the first black university in the U.S. to grand degrees.
At the event, he delivered speech challenging the U.S. to lead other countries on a path to peace, by preventing war. He also made strong statements denouncing segregation.
Here is an excerpt of his speech:
“The only possibility of preventing war is to prevent the possibility of war. International peace can be achieved only if every individual uses all of his power to exert pressure on the United States to see that it takes the leading part in world government.
The United Nations has no power to prevent war, but it can try to avoid another war. The U.N. will be effective only if no one neglects his duty in his private environment. If he does, he is responsible for the death of our children in a future war.
My trip to this institution was in behalf of a worthwhile cause. There is a separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.
The situation of mankind today is like that of a little child who has a sharp knife and plays with it. There is no effective defense against the atomic bomb – It can not only destroy a city but it can destroy the very earth on which that city stood.”