This Day in History

Feb. 11, 1916: Emma Goldman Arrested

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1910
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History

Emma Goldman mugshot. Source: Library of Congress.

Emma Goldman — Russian Jewish anarchist, feminist, advocate of free speech, the eight-hour work day, and birth control — emigrated to the United States in 1885.

On Feb. 11, 1916, she was arrested on charges of distributing materials about contraception in violation of the Comstock Act, an 1873 law banning transportation of “obscene” matter through the mail or across state lines.

She was later deported to Russia, where she continued to support social revolution and voice her dissent against government control and oppression.

Howard Zinn wrote extensively about Emma Goldman, including a play called Emma.