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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EMMA GOLDMAN
A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students

Timeline

Expanded Timeline


1869 Emma Goldman born in Kovno, Lithuania.

1885 Goldman emigrates to the United States, settling in Rochester, N.Y.

1886 Haymarket bombing: At the height of the fight for the eight-hour work day, a bomb is thrown at police at a mass meeting in Haymarket Square, Chicago, to protest the police shooting the previous day of strikers at the McCormick Reaper Works. Though the culprit is never identified, eight anarchist leaders are tried for murder and found guilty.

1887 Goldman marries Jacob Kersner, gaining U.S. citizenship; unhappy in the marriage and attracted increasingly to anarchism, Goldman divorces Kersner within the year.

Execution of four of the Haymarket anarchists.

1889 Goldman moves to New York City.

1890 Goldman's first lecture tour; speaks in Rochester, Buffalo, and Cleveland.

1892 Homestead, Pa., steel strike leads to a bloody confrontation between strikers and Pinkerton detectives; Goldman's comrade Alexander Berkman attempts to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, superintendent of the Carnegie Steel Company, and is sentenced to twenty-two years in prison; Goldman suspected of helping to plan the attempt on Frick's life.

1893 Goldman prosecuted for a speech at a demonstration of the unemployed in Union Square, New York City; found guilty of aiding and abetting an unlawful assembly; sentenced to one year in prison on Blackwell's Island, where she apprentices as a nurse to the inmates.

1894 Strike at the Pullman railroad car plant to protest layoffs and wage cuts spreads to many western railroads after the Pullman strikers appeal for support to American Railway Union leader Eugene Debs; strike is broken by court rulings against the union and by federal troops under orders from President Grover Cleveland.

1895-1896 Goldman receives formal training in nursing in Vienna.

1898 Spanish-American War: the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam ceded by Spain to the victorious United States.

1901 Assassination of President William McKinley by an anarchist. Goldman is unjustly implicated, arrested, held for questioning, and released. Goldman changes her name and, for a brief period, goes underground to avoid public harassment.

1903 Goldman helps found the Free Speech League in New York City in response to the first prosecution under a federal anti-anarchist law that barred anarchists from entering the country.

1905 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) founded.

1906 Mother Earth magazine is founded by Emma Goldman and comrades; published until 1917.

1906 Goldman begins annual lecture tours to raise money for the magazine, speaking on a broad range of issues including modern European drama, women's equality and independence, sexuality and free love, child development and education, and religious fundamentalism.

Alexander Berkman released from prison.

1908 Goldman denied the use of auditoriums in Chicago for meetings; meets Ben Reitman, who offers her his "Hobo Hall," and eventually becomes her lover and the manager of her lecture tours.

IWW free speech fight in Missoula, Mont.

(Free speech fights occurred often during this period when people like Goldman and organizations like the IWW tried to hold public meetings to express their views but were prevented from doing so by local authorities.)

1909 IWW free speech fight in Spokane, Washington.

1909-1910 "Uprising of the Twenty Thousand," a general strike by women garment workers in New York City.

1910 Goldman's Anarchism and Other Essays published.

1911 Fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City kills 146 people, mostly young women, when exits that were kept locked to prevent union organizers from entering the premises prevented workers from escaping the fire, forcing many of them to jump to their deaths.

1912 Free speech fight in San Diego; Ben Reitman dragged from the city by vigilantes and brutalized.

Lawrence, Mass., textile strike led by the IWW.

1913 IWW strike of Paterson, N.J., silk mills.

Colorado coal strike to protest low pay, dangerous working conditions, and mine companies' domination of all aspects of workers' lives.

The Armory show in New York City introduces European modern art to an American audience for the first time, creating a public scandal.

1914 Goldman's Social Significance of the Modern Drama published.

Ludlow Massacre: Colorado National Guard troops and mine guards attack a tent colony inhabited by striking miners and their families; among the dead are two women and eleven children; in response, the miners mount an armed rebellion, which is crushed after ten days by federal troops.

World War I begins in Europe.

1915-1916 Goldman lectures frequently on birth control and is arrested several times; spends fifteen days in jail on one occasion for distributing birth control information.

1917 The United States declares war on Germany, entering World War I.

Federal government imposes a draft.

Goldman founds the No-Conscription League with Berkman, M. Eleanor Fitzgerald, and Leonard Abbott to oppose the draft.

Goldman and Berkman tried and convicted for conspiracy to obstruct the draft, sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Espionage Act passed.

1918 Sedition Act passed.

1918-1919 Goldman serves time at state penitentiary in Jefferson City, Mo., Berkman in Atlanta federal penitentiary.

1919 Goldman and Berkman deported from the United States with 247 other alien radicals. (Goldman's husband had been denaturalized by the government in 1908 in order to deprive her of her citizenship. The 1918 Alien Act provided that an alien could be deported, if found to be an anarchist, at any time after entering the United States.)

1919-1920 "Red Scare": In the United States, the intolerance and suspicion of foreigners and radicals increases in the postwar years as the Bolsheviks consolidate their victory in Russia, producing fear of worldwide revolution; climaxes in the 1920 Palmer raids, when thousands of foreign-born radicals are rounded up, and many deported.

1920 Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (giving women the right to vote) ratified.

Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian anarchists, arrested for the murder of a payroll guard in Massachusetts; the accused widely seen as victims of the anti-radical and anti-foreign sentiment of the period, an impression confirmed by the conduct of the trial.

1920-1921 Goldman and Berkman in exile in Soviet Russia, where they confront the Bolsheviks' denial of free speech and expression and especially the suppression of anarchists.

1921 December: Goldman and Berkman leave Russia

1922-1924 Exile in Berlin, after a brief stay in Stockholm, Sweden.

1923 Goldman publishes My Disillusionment in Russia.

1924-1926 Goldman lives in London, writing and lecturing on conditions in Soviet Russia and on modern drama.

1926-1928 Goldman lives in Canada. Based in Toronto, she writes and lectures on Russia, modern drama, and social issues.

1927 Execution of anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti provokes international outcry.

1928-1936 Goldman finds a base for her writing and a respite from her lecture tours in a cottage in Saint-Tropez, France, purchased for her by philanthropist Peggy Guggenheim.

1931 Goldman publishes her autobiography, Living My Life.

1932 Goldman lectures in Scandinavia and Germany on the menace of fascism and the rise of Nazism.

1933 Goldman expelled from Holland.

1934 Goldman granted a visa to enter the United States for a ninety-day lecture tour.

1936 Ill with cancer, Berkman commits suicide.

1936-1938 Goldman visits Spain and enlists in the loyalist cause in the Spanish civil war, later opening an office in London to raise support for the Spanish anarchists fighting on the loyalist side.

1939 Goldman moves to Canada after the defeat of the Spanish loyalists to raise funds for women and children refugees from the Civil War.

1940 Goldman dies in Toronto and is buried in Chicago near the Haymarket martyrs who first inspired her in 1887.


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