THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EMMA GOLDMAN
A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students
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Background to the Exhibits
The political cartoon on deportation, Goldman's account of her arrival in and
deportation from the United States, and the New York Tribune
article, "Anarchists Likely To Be Put on Ship
Bound for Russia" in this section provide a dramatic
point of introduction to Goldman--her deportation in 1919 to Soviet
Russia. While the United States government over the years has
deported only a small percentage of its millions of immigrants,
nevertheless, deportation then and now is an element of American
Following World War I, high unemployment,
labor unrest, and a growing intolerance for immigrants and their
"foreign" ideas produced an atmosphere of heightened
antiradical feeling, commonly called the "Red Scare."
The Russian Revolution of 1917 had increased fear in America
that foreignborn radicals were planning to overthrow our
U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL A. MITCHELL PALMER
special assistant J. Edgar Hoover gathered evidence against foreignborn
who had been vocal in their opposition to
World War I, were among the first groups to come under attack.
In 1917, the office of Goldman's Mother Earth magazine
was ransacked by government agents in search of incriminating
evidence. On trial for opposing the
Goldman was imprisoned
and her deportation was recommended. J. Edgar Hoover turned the
deportation of Emma Goldman and her colleague Alexander Berkman
into a personal crusade, calling them in an official letter "beyond
doubt, two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country."
In spite of Goldman's insistence that she
was a citizen and not an alien, the government invalidated her
citizenship and then used the antianarchist immigration
law as grounds for her deportation. This law prohibited entry
into the United States of any person who did not believe in organized
Goldman's thoughts On Becoming an Anarchist
and her factory-working experience reveal how
an immigrant worker in late nineteenthcentury America, experienced
the dehumanizing effects of sweatshop labor in the textile industry.
- Create a radio drama complete with sound
effects using the accounts from Goldman's arrival
in and departure from the United States.
- Portray Goldman's arrival, her work in a
textile factory, and her deportation in a dramatic presentation.
- Draw a political cartoon about the "Red
- Find information or photographs pertaining
to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Design an exhibit
with captions that explain how these symbols have been meaningful
- Look up the terms alien, deportee,
and habeas corpus. Explain how they are used in the exhibits.
- Hold a debate on the issue of immigration
quotas versus "open" immigration.
- Locate some Lewis Hine photographs. Find
some contemporary photographs of immigrant workers to compare
and contrast with Hine's images. Use all of the images to create
a presentation on the theme of immigrant working conditions.
- Research the latest immigration statistics to determine:
- How many people immigrate to the United
- From which countries do they emigrate?
- What motivates immigrants to come to
the United States?
- Using graphs and charts, compare your findings
about recent immigration with immigration patterns in Goldman's
time (between 1890 and 1920). What is similar? What is different?
- Design a questionnaire to evaluate the experience
of recent immigrants to your school or community. Conduct a survey
and report on your findings.
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