Invisible No More

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman: “It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life.”

Magnus Hirschfeld said: “she was the first and only woman, indeed the first and only American, to take up the defense of homosexual love before the general public.”

In 1897, Emma Goldman, anarchist, feminist, union agitator and troublemaker extrodinaire was arrested in Providence for ‘disturbing the peace’. Goldman was arrested in Providence for “gathering a crowd” or perhaps it was “reveling”.

In April of 1897 Emma Goldman gave several lectures in Providence but was blocked by the police from speaking at an open air rally. The local socialists actively disavowed connection with her. Then in September of 1897 she returned to Providence. The first night she lectured at a relatively small venue at 936 Westminster St. where the listeners were said to have been spell bound. The next day, the socialists were holding a rally in Market Sq. The anarchists decided to erect a platform at the other side of the rally and put on their own panel of speeches. Goldman was arrested and spent the night in jail. While there she began organizing the other prisoners – including the local sex workers. As the story goes, the judge the next morning ordered her to leave town and never come back or face 3 months in prison. Goldman said she intended to return to Providence as soon as she could and as often as she could. The judge let her go anyway.Goldman returned to Providence several times in the following years; each time resulted in difficulties with both the police and the socialists. But she was never arrested in Providence again.

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