One of the great things about Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the cast of characters he introduces to the reader. Characters that are in many cases unique voices and “true American heroes.” Emma Goldman is one such character deserving of a closer look and frequent mention. More frequent than Madonna, for instance.
An excerpt from the Emma Goldman papers: When President William McKinley was shot in 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, the police immediately tried to implicate Goldman, noting that Czolgosz had recently attended one of her lectures in Cleveland. Consequently Goldman and other anarchists were arrested. Eventually, though, disappointed by the lack of evidence against her, the authorities were forced to order Goldman’s release. Goldman temporarily withdrew from public life to avoid harassment. When she re- emerged she entered one of her most politically active periods, speaking around the country, writing on a wide range of topics, and editing her free-spirited journal, Mother Earth from 1906 to 1917. Many, however, remained convinced that she was a dangerous killer, thanks in large part to the anti- anarchist agitation of the press.
Emma’s mugshots from 1901.