Distinguished Women of Past and Present


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Emma Goldman

From: Canada, Lithuania, Russia, United Kingdom, United States: New York
Fields: Activism and Social Service, Human Rights
Key Words/Phrases: anarchist, women's rights
Goldman, Emma (1869-1940), Russian anarchist, born in Kovno (now Kaunas, Lithuania). In 1885 she immigrated to the U.S., where she became a leader of the anarchist movement, working in close association with the Polish-born anarchist Alexander Berkman. After attacking the government in numerous speeches, she was arrested in 1893 and imprisoned in New York City for incitement to riot. Following her release in 1894, she lectured in Europe. She also made lecture tours throughout the U.S., and from 1906 to 1917 she edited and published Mother Earth, an anarchist monthly. She expressed strong pacifist views during World War I, denouncing the war as imperialist. In 1917, together with Berkman, she was tried and convicted of conspiracy to violate the U.S. conscription laws; both were imprisoned for two years and fined $10,000. Shortly after their release, in 1919, they were deported to the USSR. At first a fervent admirer of the Soviet regime, she later voiced vehement criticisms of its policies and was expelled from the country. She spent some time in England, becoming a British subject through her marriage to a Welsh miner in 1926. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), she worked for the Spanish Republican government in London and in Madrid. She died in Toronto. Goldman expounded the reasons for her changed opinion of the Soviet government in My Disillusionment in Russia (1923). Her other writings include Anarchism and Other Essays (1911) and the autobiographical Living My Life (1931).

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