Emma Goldman, American anarchist and feminist, advocate of free speech, birth control, and the eight-hour work day, was arrested in New York City on February 11, 1916—just prior to giving another public lecture on family planning.
She was charged with violating the Comstock Act, an 1873 law banning transportation of “obscene” matter through the mail or across state lines.
At the time, federal courts interpreted the act as prohibiting distribution of information about contraception.
[W]hen a law has outgrown time and necessity, it must go and the only way to get rid of the law, is to awaken the public to the fact that it has outlived its purposes and that is precisely what I have been doing and mean to do in the future.
The term “anarchy” is derived from the Greek “anarchos” (“without ruler”).
Up until the 19th Century, the term was generally used in a positive manner, to describe a coherent political belief, and it was only later that it became used pejoratively (to mean something akin to chaos).
Goldman was born on June 27, 1869, in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire; by the time she was twelve, her family had moved to St. Like most Eastern European Jews, Goldman’s family suffered under the political oppression and anti-Semitism of imperial Russia.
She fled Russia with her sister Helena in 1885, settling in Rochester, New York, where they were soon joined by the rest of their family.
The People’s Library is our collective library which is named in the likeness of the famous pop-up libraries that existed throughout the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Our online archive begins with an introduction to anarchism and leads to many popular books, essays, and other resources that can be used for education, enlightenment, and empowerment.