|Emma Goldman c. 1911|
Not a household name today, Emma Goldman was indeed well known nationally in 1910, as an anarchist, anti-religion zealot, advocate for birth control and homosexual rights, and more. Butte culminated her five-month 1910 tour, which her manager boasted “had not a single encounter with the police.” Among her previous run-ins with the police was an arrest in 1901, following the assassination of William McKinley by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Goldman admitted meeting Czolgosz, but disavowed any connection with his act; she was released two weeks later after “third degree” interrogation. (Image below, from Anaconda Standard, Sept. 22, 1901.)
In Butte at the Carpenter’s Union Hall on Granite Street Goldman spoke in June 1910 on “Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School.” Ferrer was a fellow anarchist and educator, executed in Spain because the church feared his teachings, according to Goldman. Her second speech focused on “The White Slave Trade,” by which she mostly referred to prostitution. Butte had quite a reputation in that area, of course, but it was a nationwide issue.
Goldman came to Butte three more times, in 1912, 1913, and 1914. Although she was an American citizen by virtue of marriage, her husband’s citizenship was revoked and courts held that had invalidated Emma’s as well. She was deported to Russia (her 1869 birthplace was in Lithuania, at the time a part of the Russian Empire) in 1920. She had become known as “the most dangerous woman in America.” Disillusioned with the Soviet experiment, she left in 1921 and spent the rest of her life—not quietly—in Europe and Canada. She died in 1940.
Photo c. 1911 from Library of Congress via Wikipedia.