Emma Goldman
Lithuanian-born American anarchist
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire, Goldman emigrated to the U.S. in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement in 1889.
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Emma Goldman's personal information overview.
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Flowers, not diamonds, are a girl's best friend - Hurriyet Daily News
Google News - over 5 years
In 1897, Emma Goldman wrote: “I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases
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Rage against the Fed: Punk rocker pens tribute to Ron Paul - Daily Caller
Google News - over 5 years
The Sex Pistols were, in reality, not much more than Malcolm McLaren's little media prank and their alleged “anarchy” was really generic anti-authoritarianism marketed to teenage NME readers — c'mon, it's not as though their lyrics quoted Emma Goldman
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Washington, Lincoln and FDR Were Great Presidents - and Great Radicals - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
... socialist Eugene Debs, anarchist Emma Goldman, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Just as much, I have in mind those figures whom both historians and the American people at large consider our greatest presidents: George Washington,
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On the Bookshelf - Tablet Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Some revolutionaries, like Emma Goldman, sought to change the minds of workers; others, like Richard Feynman, looked to change our understanding of matter. By Josh Lambert | Aug 15, 2011 7:00 AM | Print | Email | Share Every adolescence has its own
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Boff Whalley: 'In defence of anarchy' - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
Some self-proclaimed anarchists you may have heard of: George Melly, John Cage, Noam Chomsky, Emma Goldman, Germaine Greer, Henry Miller, Joseph Proudhon, Malcolm McLaren, Mike Harding. If you can picture any of them amongst the mugshots on the front
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Spare Times
NYTimes - over 5 years
Spare Times Museums and Sites Asia Society and Museum: 'Ai Weiwei -- New York Photographs 1983-1993' (Friday through Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday) A display of more than 200 photographs taken by Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist who was recently released from detention in Beijing, will be on view through Aug. 14. Museum hours: Fridays,
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Theresa Moritz - The Mark
Google News - over 5 years
One of them, The World's Most Dangerous Woman: A New Biography of Emma Goldman, which she co-authored with Albert Moritz in 2001, was awarded the Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Prize in Canadian Jewish History in 2003. With Albert Moritz, she also wrote
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The riches of 'Ragtime' - Pocono Record
Google News - over 5 years
Emma Goldman (Jessica Smith) addresses an angry audience of strikers in Lawrence, Mass., during 'Ragtime' rehearsal at the Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg. By MELANIE VANDERVEER Based on the 1975 novel by EL Doctorow, "Ragtime" has become a classic hit in
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Can Catholics abide a saint who had an abortion? - CNN (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
He was Emma Goldman's lover; that's why I have never had any use for Emma." I hung on every word that she said, not only because she was Dorothy, but because, although I had heard a rumor that she had an abortion, I was aware that few people knew of it
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Anarchism: The A word - Infoshop News
Google News - over 5 years
In 1910 American activist Emma Goldman wrote: 'Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government
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If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution - E-Flux
Google News - over 5 years
We like to embrace Emma Goldman's statement, as it suggests that the search for agency and the potential for empowerment lies in all elements of life and cannot be regulated within a firmly cordoned-off arena called the political
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A Welcome Mat? Not Always - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
She told me about Emma Goldman, Ellen Knauff and Ignatz Mezei, and on Monday I caught the Miss New Jersey out of Liberty State Park to see whether I could find their ghosts at Ellis Island in the same way that, on earlier visits, I had felt the
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Review: The International Anarchist Congress Amsterdam (1907) - Infoshop News
Google News - over 5 years
This meeting, held in Amsterdam, attracted the leading lights of the international libertarian movement – Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Pierre Ramus, Christiaan Cornelissen and a host of others (Peter Kropotkin being an notable absentee)
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BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Sticky Fingers, Used in Service of a Covetous Nature
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE STEAL A Cultural History of Shoplifting By Rachel Shteir 256 pages. Penguin Press. $25.95. Jack Kerouac said many things better than other writers have said them, and among those things, in ''On the Road,'' is this: ''I suddenly began to realize that everybody in America is a natural born thief.'' Rachel Shteir quotes Kerouac's sentence
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Emma Goldman
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1940
    Age 70
    On Saturday, February 17, 1940, Goldman suffered a debilitating stroke.
    More Details Hide Details She became paralyzed on her right side, and although her hearing was unaffected, she could not speak. As one friend described it: "Just to think that here was Emma, the greatest orator in America, unable to utter one word." For three months she improved slightly, receiving visitors and on one occasion gesturing to her address book to signal that a friend might find friendly contacts during a trip to Mexico. She suffered another stroke on May 8, however, and on May 14 she died in Toronto, aged 70. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service allowed her body to be brought back to the United States. She was buried in German Waldheim Cemetery (now named Forest Home Cemetery) in Forest Park, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, among the graves of other labor and social activists including Ben Reitman and those executed after the Haymarket affair. The bas relief on her grave marker was created by sculptor Jo Davidson.
  • 1939
    Age 69
    Frustrated by England's repressive atmosphere—which she called "more fascist than the fascists"—she returned to Canada in 1939.
    More Details Hide Details Her service to the anarchist cause in Spain was not forgotten, however. On her seventieth birthday, the former Secretary-General of the CNT-FAI, Mariano Vázquez, sent a message to her from Paris, praising her for her contributions and naming her as "our spiritual mother". She called it "the most beautiful tribute I have ever received". As the events preceding World War II began to unfold in Europe, Goldman reiterated her opposition to wars waged by governments. "Much as I loathe Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Franco", she wrote to a friend, "I would not support a war against them and for the democracies which, in the last analysis, are only Fascist in disguise." She felt that Britain and France had missed their opportunity to oppose fascism, and that the coming war would only result in "a new form of madness in the world". This position was vastly unpopular, as Hitler's attacks on Jewish communities reverberated throughout the Jewish diaspora.
  • 1937
    Age 67
    Delivering lectures and giving interviews, Goldman enthusiastically supported the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists. She wrote regularly for Spain and the World, a biweekly newspaper focusing on the civil war. In May 1937, however, Communist-led forces attacked anarchist strongholds and broke up agrarian collectives.
    More Details Hide Details Newspapers in England and elsewhere accepted the timeline of events offered by the Second Spanish Republic at face value. British journalist George Orwell, present for the crackdown, wrote: "The accounts of the Barcelona riots in May beat everything I have ever seen for lying." Goldman returned to Spain in September, but the CNT-FAI appeared to her like people "in a burning house". Worse, anarchists and other radicals around the world refused to support their cause. The Nationalist forces declared victory in Spain just before she returned to London.
    Goldman began to worry about the future of Spain's anarchism when the CNT-FAI joined a coalition government in 1937—against the core anarchist principle of abstaining from state structures—and, more distressingly, made repeated concessions to Communist forces in the name of uniting against fascism.
    More Details Hide Details She wrote that cooperating with Communists in Spain was "a denial of our comrades in Stalin's concentration camps". Russia, meanwhile, refused to send weapons to anarchist forces, and disinformation campaigns were being waged against the anarchists across Europe and the US. Her faith in the movement unshaken, Goldman returned to London as an official representative of the CNT-FAI.
  • 1934
    Age 64
    She returned to New York on February 2, 1934 to generally positive press coverage—except from Communist publications.
    More Details Hide Details Soon she was surrounded by admirers and friends, besieged with invitations to talks and interviews. Her visa expired in May, and she went to Toronto in order to file another request to visit the US. However, this second attempt was denied. She stayed in Canada, writing articles for US publications. In February and March 1936, Berkman underwent a pair of prostate gland operations. Recuperating in Nice and cared for by his companion, Emmy Eckstein, he missed Goldman's sixty-seventh birthday in Saint-Tropez in June. She wrote in sadness, but he never read the letter; she received a call in the middle of the night that Berkman was in great distress. She left for Nice immediately but when she arrived that morning, Goldman found that he had shot himself and was in a nearly comatose paralysis. He died later that evening.
  • 1933
    Age 63
    In 1933, Goldman received permission to lecture in the United States under the condition that she speak only about drama and her autobiography—but not current political events.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1928
    Age 58
    In 1928, she began writing her autobiography, with the support of a group of admirers, including journalist H. L. Mencken, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, novelist Theodore Dreiser and art collector Peggy Guggenheim, who raised $4,000 for her.
    More Details Hide Details She secured a cottage in the French coastal city of Saint-Tropez and spent two years recounting her life. Berkman offered sharply critical feedback, which she eventually incorporated at the price of a strain on their relationship. Goldman intended the book, Living My Life, as a single volume for a price the working class could afford (she urged no more than $5.00); her publisher Alfred A. Knopf, however, released it as two volumes sold together for $7.50. Goldman was furious, but unable to force a change. Due in large part to the Great Depression, sales were sluggish despite keen interest from libraries around the US. Critical reviews were generally enthusiastic; The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Saturday Review of Literature all listed it as one of the year's top non-fiction books.
  • 1927
    Age 57
    Goldman traveled to Canada in 1927, just in time to receive news of the impending executions of Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in Boston.
    More Details Hide Details Angered by the many irregularities of the case, she saw it as another travesty of justice in the US. She longed to join the mass demonstrations in Boston; memories of the Haymarket affair overwhelmed her, compounded by her isolation. "Then," she wrote, "I had my life before me to take up the cause for those killed. Now I have nothing."
  • 1925
    Age 55
    Although they were only distant acquaintances, she accepted and they were married on June 27, 1925.
    More Details Hide Details Her new status gave her peace of mind, and allowed her to travel to France and Canada. Life in London was stressful for Goldman; she wrote to Berkman: "I am awfully tired and so lonely and heartsick. It is a dreadful feeling to come back here from lectures and find not a kindred soul, no one who cares whether one is dead or alive." She worked on analytical studies of drama, expanding on the work she had published in 1914. But the audiences were "awful" and she never finished her second book on the subject.
    In 1925, the spectre of deportation loomed again, but a Scottish anarchist named James Colton offered to marry her and provide British citizenship.
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  • 1924
    Age 54
    Goldman found it difficult to acclimate to the German leftist community. Communists despised her outspokenness about Soviet repression; liberals derided her radicalism. While Berkman remained in Berlin helping Russian exiles, she moved to London in September 1924.
    More Details Hide Details Upon her arrival, the novelist Rebecca West arranged a reception dinner for her, attended by philosopher Bertrand Russell, novelist H. G. Wells, and more than two hundred others. When she spoke of her dissatisfaction with the Soviet government, the audience was shocked. Some left the gathering; others berated her for prematurely criticizing the Communist experiment. Later, in a letter, Russell declined to support her efforts at systemic change in the Soviet Union and ridiculed her anarchist idealism.
  • 1920
    Age 50
    The ship landed her charges in Hanko, Finland on Saturday, January 17, 1920.
    More Details Hide Details Upon arrival in Finland, authorities there conducted the deportees to the Russian frontier under a flag of truce. Goldman initially viewed the Bolshevik revolution in a positive light. She wrote in Mother Earth that despite its dependence on Communist government, it represented "the most fundamental, far-reaching and all-embracing principles of human freedom and of economic well-being". By the time she neared Europe, however, she expressed fears about what was to come. She was worried about the ongoing Russian Civil War and the possibility of being seized by anti-Bolshevik forces. The state, anti-capitalist though it was, also posed a threat. "I could never in my life work within the confines of the State," she wrote to her niece, "Bolshevist or otherwise." She quickly discovered that her fears were justified. Days after returning to Petrograd (Saint Petersburg), she was shocked to hear a party official refer to free speech as a "bourgeois superstition". As she and Berkman traveled around the country, they found repression, mismanagement, and corruption instead of the equality and worker empowerment they had dreamed of. Those who questioned the government were demonized as counter-revolutionaries, and workers labored under severe conditions. They met with Vladimir Lenin, who assured them that government suppression of press liberties was justified. He told them: "There can be no free speech in a revolutionary period." Berkman was more willing to forgive the government's actions in the name of "historical necessity", but he eventually joined Goldman in opposing the Soviet state's authority.
  • FORTIES
  • 1919
    Age 49
    Goldman and Berkman were released from prison during America's Red Scare of 1919–20, when public anxiety about wartime pro-German activities had morphed into a pervasive fear of Bolshevism and the prospect of an imminent radical revolution.
    More Details Hide Details Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer and J. Edgar Hoover, head of the US Department of Justice's General Intelligence Division, were intent on using the Anarchist Exclusion Act and its 1918 expansion to deport any non-citizens they could identify as advocates of anarchy or revolution. "Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman," Hoover wrote while they were in prison, "are, beyond doubt, two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country and return to the community will result in undue harm." At her deportation hearing on October 27, she refused to answer questions about her beliefs on the grounds that her American citizenship invalidated any attempt to deport her under the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which could be enforced only against non-citizens of the US. She presented a written statement instead: "Today so-called aliens are deported. Tomorrow native Americans will be banished. Already some patrioteers are suggesting that native American sons to whom democracy is a sacred ideal should be exiled." Louis Post at the Department of Labor, which had ultimate authority over deportation decisions, determined that the revocation of her husband's American citizenship in 1908 had revoked hers as well. After initially promising a court fight, she decided not to appeal his ruling.
    Goldman was released on September 27, 1919.
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  • 1917
    Age 47
    On June 15, 1917, Goldman and Berkman were arrested during a raid of their offices which yielded "a wagon load of anarchist records and propaganda" for the authorities.
    More Details Hide Details The New York Times reported that Goldman asked to change into a more appropriate outfit, and emerged in a gown of "royal purple". The pair were charged with conspiracy to "induce persons not to register" under the newly enacted Espionage Act, and were held on US$25,000 bail each. Defending herself and Berkman during their trial, Goldman invoked the First Amendment, asking how the government could claim to fight for democracy abroad while suppressing free speech at home: We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outraged, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged? Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world?
  • 1916
    Age 46
    Although US President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected in 1916 under the slogan "He kept us out of the war", at the start of his second term he decided that Germany's continued deployment of unrestricted submarine warfare was sufficient cause for the US to enter World War I.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly afterward, Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917, which required all males aged 21–30 to register for military conscription. Goldman saw the decision as an exercise in militarist aggression, driven by capitalism. She declared in Mother Earth her intent to resist conscription, and to oppose US involvement in the war. To this end, she and Berkman organized the No Conscription League of New York, which proclaimed: "We oppose conscription because we are internationalists, antimilitarists, and opposed to all wars waged by capitalistic governments." The group became a vanguard for anti-draft activism, and chapters began to appear in other cities. When police began raiding the group's public events to find young men who had not registered for the draft, however, Goldman and others focused their efforts on spreading pamphlets and other written work. In the midst of the nation's patriotic fervor, many elements of the political left refused to support the League's efforts. The Women's Peace Party, for example, ceased its opposition to the war once the US entered it. The Socialist Party of America took an official stance against US involvement, but supported Wilson in most of his activities.
    Although the nation's attitude toward the topic seemed to be liberalizing, Goldman was arrested on February 11, 1916, as she was about to give another public lecture.
    More Details Hide Details Goldman was charged with violating the Comstock Law. Refusing to pay a $100 fine, Goldman spent two weeks in a prison workhouse, which she saw as an "opportunity" to reconnect with those rejected by society.
  • 1915
    Age 45
    In 1915 Goldman conducted a nationwide speaking tour in part to raise awareness about contraception options.
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  • 1914
    Age 44
    When Margaret Sanger, an advocate of access to contraception, coined the term "birth control" and disseminated information about various methods in the June 1914 issue of her magazine The Woman Rebel, she received aggressive support from Goldman, who had already been an active in efforts to increase birth control access for several years.
    More Details Hide Details In 1916, Goldman was arrested for giving lessons in public on how to use contraceptives. Sanger, too, was arrested under the Comstock Law, which prohibited the dissemination of "obscene, lewd, or lascivious articles"—including information relating to birth control. Although they later split from Sanger over charges of insufficient support, Goldman and Reitman distributed copies of Sanger's pamphlet Family Limitation (along with a similar essay of Reitman's).
  • THIRTIES
  • 1908
    Age 38
    In the spring of 1908, Goldman met and fell in love with Ben Reitman, the so-called "Hobo doctor".
    More Details Hide Details Having grown up in Chicago's tenderloin district, Reitman spent several years as a drifter before attaining a medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago. As a doctor, he attended to people suffering from poverty and illness, particularly venereal diseases. He and Goldman began an affair; they shared a commitment to free love, but whereas Reitman took a variety of lovers, Goldman did not. She tried to reconcile her feelings of jealousy with a belief in freedom of the heart, but found it difficult. Two years later, Goldman began feeling frustrated with lecture audiences. She yearned to "reach the few who really want to learn, rather than the many who come to be amused". Thus she collected a series of speeches and items she had written for Mother Earth and published a book called Anarchism and Other Essays. Covering a wide variety of topics, Goldman tries to represent "the mental and soul struggles of twenty-one years". In addition to a comprehensive look at anarchism and its criticisms, the book includes essays on patriotism, women's suffrage, marriage, and prisons.
  • 1907
    Age 37
    Berkman took the helm of Mother Earth in 1907, while Goldman toured the country to raise funds to keep it functional.
    More Details Hide Details Editing the magazine was a revitalizing experience for Berkman; his relationship with Goldman faltered, however, and he had an affair with a 15-year-old anarchist named Becky Edelsohn. Goldman was pained by his rejection of her, but considered it a consequence of his prison experience. Later that year she served as a delegate from the US to the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam. Anarchists and syndicalists from around the world gathered to sort out the tension between the two ideologies, but no decisive agreement was reached. Goldman returned to the US and continued speaking to large audiences. For the next ten years, Goldman traveled around the country nonstop, delivering lectures and agitating for anarchism. The coalitions formed in opposition to the Anarchist Exclusion Act had given her an appreciation for reaching out to those of other political persuasions. When the US Justice Department sent spies to observe, they reported the meetings as "packed". Writers, journalists, artists, judges, and workers from across the spectrum spoke of her "magnetic power", her "convincing presence", her "force, eloquence, and fire".
  • 1906
    Age 36
    In 1906, Goldman decided to start a publication of her own, "a place of expression for the young idealists in arts and letters".
    More Details Hide Details Mother Earth was staffed by a cadre of radical activists, including Hippolyte Havel, Max Baginski, and Leonard Abbott. In addition to publishing original works by its editors and anarchists around the world, Mother Earth reprinted selections from a variety of writers. These included the French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and British writer Mary Wollstonecraft. Goldman wrote frequently about anarchism, politics, labor issues, atheism, sexuality, and feminism. On May 18 of the same year, Alexander Berkman was released from prison. Carrying a bouquet of roses, she met him on the platform and found herself "seized by terror and pity" as she beheld his gaunt, pale form. Neither was able to speak; they returned to her home in silence. For weeks, he struggled to readjust to life on the outside; an abortive speaking tour ended in failure, and in Cleveland he purchased a revolver with the intent of killing himself. He returned to New York, however, and learned that Goldman had been arrested with a group of activists meeting to reflect on Czolgosz. Invigorated anew by this violation of freedom of assembly, he declared "My resurrection has come!" and set about securing their release.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1899
    Age 29
    In November 1899 she returned to Europe, where she met the anarchist Hippolyte Havel, with whom she went to France and helped organize the International Anarchist Congress on the outskirts of Paris. On September 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz, an unemployed factory worker and registered Republican with a history of mental illness, shot US President William McKinley twice during a public speaking event in Buffalo, New York.
    More Details Hide Details McKinley was hit in the breastbone and stomach, and died eight days later. Czolgosz was arrested, and interrogated around the clock. During interrogation he claimed to be an Anarchist and said he had been inspired to act after attending a speech held by Goldman. The authorities used this as a pretext to charge Goldman with planning McKinley's assassination. They tracked her to a residence in Chicago she shared with Havel, as well as Mary and Abe Isaak, an anarchist couple. Goldman was arrested, along with Abe Isaak, Havel, and ten other anarchists. Earlier, Czolgosz had tried but failed to become friends with Goldman and her companions. During a talk in Cleveland, Czolgosz had approached Goldman and asked her advice on which books he should read. In July 1901, he had appeared at the Isaak house, asking a series of unusual questions. They assumed he was an infiltrator, like a number of police agents sent to spy on radical groups. They had remained distant from him, and Abe Isaak sent a notice to associates warning of "another spy".
  • 1892
    Age 22
    In 1892, Goldman joined with Berkman and Stein in opening an ice cream shop in Worcester, Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details After only a few months of operating the shop, however, Goldman and Berkman were deflected from the venture by their involvement in the Homestead Strike. One of the first political moments that brought Berkman and Goldman together was the Homestead Strike. In June 1892, a steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania owned by Andrew Carnegie became the focus of national attention when talks between the Carnegie Steel Company and the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) broke down. The factory's manager was Henry Clay Frick, a fierce opponent of the union. When a final round of talks failed at the end of June, management closed the plant and locked out the workers, who immediately went on strike. Strikebreakers were brought in and the company hired Pinkerton guards to protect them. On July 6, a fight broke out between three hundred Pinkerton guards and a crowd of armed union workers. During the twelve-hour gunfight, seven guards and nine strikers were killed.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1887
    Age 17
    After four months, they married in February 1887. Once he moved in with Goldman's family, however, their relationship faltered. On their wedding night she discovered that he was impotent; they became emotionally and physically distant. Before long he became jealous and suspicious. She, meanwhile, was becoming more engaged with the political turmoil around her—particularly the fallout of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago and the anti-authoritarian political philosophy of anarchism.
    More Details Hide Details Less than a year after the wedding, they were divorced; he begged her to return and threatened to poison himself if she did not. They reunited, but after three months she left once again. Her parents considered her behavior "loose" and refused to allow Goldman into their home. Carrying her sewing machine in one hand and a bag with five dollars in the other, she left Rochester and headed southeast to New York City. On her first day in the city, Goldman met two men who would forever change her life. At Sachs's Café, a gathering place for radicals, she was introduced to Alexander Berkman, an anarchist who invited her to a public speech that evening. They went to hear Johann Most, editor of a radical publication called Freiheit and an advocate of "propaganda of the deed"—the use of violence to instigate change. She was impressed by his fiery oration, and he took her under his wing, training her in methods of public speaking. He encouraged her vigorously, telling her that she was "to take my place when I am gone." One of her first public talks in support of "the Cause" was in Rochester. After convincing Helena not to tell their parents of her speech, Goldman found her mind a blank once on stage. Suddenly,
  • 1886
    Age 16
    Anarchism was central to Goldman's view of the world and she is today considered one of the most important figures in the history of anarchism. First drawn to it during the persecution of anarchists after the 1886 Haymarket affair, she wrote and spoke regularly on behalf of anarchism.
    More Details Hide Details In the title essay of her book Anarchism and Other Essays, she wrote: Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations. Goldman's anarchism was intensely personal. She believed it was necessary for anarchist thinkers to live their beliefs, demonstrating their convictions with every action and word. "I don't care if a man's theory for tomorrow is correct," she once wrote. "I care if his spirit of today is correct." Anarchism and free association were to her logical responses to the confines of government control and capitalism. "It seems to me that these are the new forms of life," she wrote, "and that they will take the place of the old, not by preaching or voting, but by living them."
  • 1885
    Age 15
    In 1885, Helena made plans to move to New York to join her sister Lena and her husband.
    More Details Hide Details Goldman wanted to join her sister, but their father refused to allow it. Despite Helena's offer to pay for the trip, Abraham turned a deaf ear to their pleas. Desperate, Goldman threatened to throw herself into the Neva River if she could not go. He finally agreed, and on December 29, 1885, Helena and Emma arrived at New York's Castle Garden. They moved into the Rochester home Lena had made with her husband Samuel. Fleeing the rising antisemitism of Saint Petersburg, their parents and brothers joined them a year later. Goldman began working as a seamstress, sewing overcoats for more than ten hours a day, earning two and a half dollars a week. She asked for a raise and was denied; she quit and took work at a smaller shop nearby. At her new job, Goldman met a fellow worker named Jacob Kershner, who shared her love for books, dancing, and traveling, as well as her frustration with the monotony of factory work.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1869
    Born
    Emma Goldman was born on June 27, 1869.
    More Details Hide Details Her father used violence to punish his children, beating them when they disobeyed him. He used a whip only on Emma, the most rebellious of them. Her mother provided scarce comfort, only rarely calling on Abraham to tone down his beatings. Goldman later speculated that her father's furious temper was at least partly a result of sexual frustration. Goldman's relationships with her elder half-sisters, Helena and Lena, were a study in contrasts. Helena, the oldest, provided the comfort they lacked from their mother; she filled Goldman's childhood with "whatever joy it had". Lena, however, was distant and uncharitable. The three sisters were joined by brothers Louis (who died at the age of six), Herman (born in 1872), and Moishe (born in 1879). When Emma was a young girl, the Goldman family moved to the village of Papilė, where her father ran an inn. While her sisters worked, she became friends with a servant named Petrushka, who excited her "first erotic sensations". Later in Papilė she witnessed a peasant being whipped with a knout in the street. This event traumatized her and contributed to her lifelong distaste for violent authority.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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