1917 September 11

Emma Goldman Speech Banned in New York; She Appears On Stage Gagged


The famous anarchist, birth control advocate and anti-war activist Emma Goldman was prevented from speaking at the Kessler Theater by the New York City police. Goldman was out on bail at the time, having been arrested on June 15, 1917, for violating the Espionage Act by opposing U.S. involvement in World War I. To protest the ban, she appeared on stage at the Kessler Theater on this day with a gag over her mouth. She was later convicted and sent prison. Upon her release two years later, she was deported to the Soviet Union, on December 21, 1919.

In another famous “gag” protest, birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, banned from speaking in Boston, protested the ban by appearing on stage the night of April 16, 1929, with a gag over her mouth.

Learn more: Alice Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life (1984)

Follow a timeline of Goldman’s life: http://ucblibrary3.berkeley.edu/goldman/Curricula/timeline.html

Read: Vivian Gornick, Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life (2011)

Learn more about Emma Goldman and free speech: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/Exhibition/freespeech.html

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