Emma Goldman

By: Tor Aarestad
June 27, 2009


What was it about EMMA GOLDMAN (1867-1940) that made her, at the turn of the twentieth century, the most dangerous woman in America? Was it her early support of violent Attentats, such as her partner Alexander Berkman’s attempted murder of ruthless anti-labor heavy Henry Frick? Or her brusque debating style? (When erstwhile companion Johann Most changed his view on Attentats and printed defamatory insinuations against Berkman, Goldman demanded that he support his claims in print. When he didn’t, she appeared at one of his talks and beat him with a horsewhip.) Maybe her impudent stance on the position of women: a fellow little magazine editor said that Emma was sent to prison “for advocating that women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.” Most likely it was her withering fury at middlebrow beliefs, insinuating itself into every fervid, sloganeering phrase she produced: “What hosts are laid at your feet, Morality, destroyer of life.”

MORE ACTIVISTS: Mother Jones | Alexander Berkman | Eugene V. Debs | Tina Modotti | Big Bill Haywood | Lucy Stone | Antônio Conselheiro | Emmeline Pankhurst | Félix Fénéon | Meridel Le Sueur | Pierre-Joseph Proudhon | Zo d’Axa | Mikhail Bakunin | Voltairine de Cleyre | Emma Goldman | Will Allen | Rosa Luxemburg | Simone de Beauvoir | Émile Henry | Pancho Villa | Joe Hill | Margaret Sanger | Aldo Leopold | Screaming Lord Sutch | Nestor Makhno | Dorothy Day | Garry Kasparov | Adriano Olivetti | Mildred Harnack | Frederick Douglass | Murray Bookchin | George Orwell | Bayard Rustin | Abbie Hoffman | Ti-Grace Atkinson | Gloria Steinem | Rudolf Rocker | Stokely Carmichael | Angela Davis


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | George Walker, Tadanori Yokoo, Emma Goldman.

READ MORE about members of the Anarcho-Symbolist Generation (1864–73).”>


Activism, HiLo Heroes