Emma Goldman, One of History’s Best-Known Anarchists, Left an Outsized Legacy

I once wrote a biographical essay on Emma Goldman that was used as an introduction to a reprint of one of her books. It’s still available.

By Kim Kelly

Teen Vogue

On June 27, 1869,  a little girl was born into a Jewish ghetto in a western corner of the Russian Empire. Due to her gender, her religion, and her family’s lack of resources, the course of her life seemed preordained — marriage, toil, children, an early death. Higher education was a luxury that her family deemed unnecessary; her father told her that “all a Jewish daughter needs to know is how to prepare gefilte fish, cut noodles fine, and give the man plenty of children.” As a Jewish woman in Tsarist Russia, her life was perpetually under threat; a rash of bloody pogroms broke out in 1881, and she bore witness to the violent antisemitism that continued to plague her homeland after she emigrated to the States in 1885 at age 16 in search of freedom.


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