Berkeley Digital Library

A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students

Photograph of Goldman Speaking on Birth Control

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Goldman Speaking on Birth Control
Union Square, New York City
May 20, 1916
CONTEXT: Emma Goldman and other birth control advocates distributed twenty thousand circulars on the day this photograph was taken. Although Goldman had been arrested previously for distributing birth control information, she continued to agitate on the issue, organizing mass meetings in halls and, as this photograph shows, in the open air.

Photo credit: International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

Questions on the Photograph:

Read the photograph:

  1. What is going on?

  2. What is the speaker using for a platform?

  3. Where is the gathering?

  4. Who are the people listening to her?

  5. Where are the women?

  6. What does this photograph say about Goldman's personality?

  7. Can the photograph tell you anything about the attitude of the crowd?

  8. Does this appear to be a legal gathering?

General Questions on This Exhibit:
  1. How is your conception of an historical figure or event affected when you see a photograph of that person or event? Can you name examples of photographs that have influenced your view of history?

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