Life Story: Emma Goldman2021-02-11T13:07:35-05:00

Resource

Life Story: Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Radical Activist Among Progressive Reformers

The story of a radical anarchist immigrant who fought against the tyranny of capitalism and promoted full equality for women.

An image of Emma Goldman seated in a chair. She is holding a book in her right hand, and her left-hand rests against her chin. She is wearing a light-colored blouse and dark skirt. Around her neck is a scarf or kerchief. She is also wearing glasses.
Emma Goldman, Chicago

Emma Goldman, Chicago, 1906. New York University, Tamiment Archives.

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Suggested Activities

  • As an anarchist, Emma’s views on suffrage were often considered unique. Compare her beliefs with the arguments made for and against suffrage elsewhere in this unit.
  • Compare Clara’s life story to that of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, another Russian Jewish immigrant who was politically active in New York City.
  • Both Emma Goldman and Jeannette Rankin were pacifists who fought against American participation in World War I. Read their life stories and discuss how their approaches and reasons for pacifism were different.
  • After reading Emma’s life story, analyze a photograph of her speaking to a crowd about birth control (Resource 35 in The Armory Show at 100). What does this image tell us about Emma’s personality and approach to public activism?

Themes

IMMIGRATION, MIGRATION, AND SETTLEMENT; POWER AND POLITICS; ACTIVISM AND SOCIAL CHANGE

New-York Historical Society Curriculum Library Connections

  • For more resources relating to women and modern life in the early twentieth century, see The Armory Show at 100.
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