Emma Goldman Biography ID 36

She was synonymous with radicalism. Emma Goldman (1869-1940) was born in Russia and moved to the United States in 1886. She was soon caught up in a swirl of radical movements--feminism, birth control, pacifism, and anarchism. She defended free speech, free love, and the rights of striking workers and homosexuals.

At the height of the Red Scare in 1919, Emma Goldman was imprisoned on Ellis Island, put on a ship with 246 men and two other women who were branded radicals, and deported to the Soviet Union. The roundup was engineered by J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the Justice Department's Radical Division and later director of the FBI. She and 248 other suspected radicals were placed on a military transport with a detachment of armed marines and deported to revolutionary Russia.

Greeted by the wife of the famous writer Maxim Gorky, Emma Goldman said: "This is the greatest day in my life. I once found political freedom in America. Now the doors are closed to free thinkers, and the enemies of capitalism find once more sanctuary in Russia." But her enthusiasm for the new Soviet Union quickly faded. She lived there for less than two years. In a book describing her time in Russia, she argued that repression and terror were the inevitable result of Bolshevik ideology. In exile, she lived in France. During the Spanish Civil War, she worked with anarchists in defense of the Spanish Republic.

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