Champions Emma Goldman
Milwaukee Friend Says She Could Not Be Implicated
Emma Goldman, anarchist,
has been taken in custody at Chicago and will be examined to ascertain
whether she was connected with the plot to murder President McKinley.
According to a man now in Milwaukee, who knew her intimately after
the troubles in New York, she could not possibly have been connected
with such a scheme. He says her nature is all gentleness, her intellect
cultivated and her motives are kind. Her champian [sic] talked
with her for weeks just after she had been incarcerated on Blackwell’s
island, New York, after the sweatshop riots of seven years ago,
and never heard her utter a bitte [sic] word against the
head of any government. She believed conditions could be made perfect
not by violence but by constant work for uplifting the benighted
The man who knew Emma Goldman is W.
E. Hughes. At the time he became acquainted with her he was doing
newspaper work in New York, and met her professionally day after
day, until he was enabled to secure a good insight into her character.
“Emma Goldman was greatly above her
fellow workers,” he said. “She is a Polish Jew, and was a garment
worker on the ast [sic] side of New York when the great tailors’
strike was called. They were working the men, women and children
of the sweatshops from twelve to sixteen hours a day, seven days
in a week, and giving them just enough to exist.
“The great mass of poor people thronged
the streets, gaunt and hungry, and one night at a meeting in Union
square Emma Goldman made an address. In the course of her remarks
she said ‘Ask them for work; if they do not give it you, ask for
bread. If they do not give you bread, take it. Starvation knows
no law; necessity knows no law.’
“These words were made part of the
indictment on which she was tried for inciting the strikers to riot.
They were read before the court and repeated to her when she was
sentenced to twelve months in the Blackwell’s island prison. I heard
them uttered. After Emma Goldman returned to New York I met her
many times. She always impressed me with the beauty of her thought.
“All her efforts were toward downing
the turbulent spirit which cried violence and murder; she believed
in bringing about the ideal of social relations by peaceful means
and kindness. She was somewhat under the average height, with intelligent
blue eyes, a mass of wavy brown hair and beautiful features. And
her life seemed to be one of forgiveness, for I never heard her
bitter or harsh toward anyone.”
Emma Goldman, in her socialistic connections,
has been painted anything excepting like this. She said at that
time she expected to be misquoted, jeered at and scoffed at; but
she considered it all in the path of her work. She accepted her
imprisonment at New York with the greatest aplomb, considering it
but an incident.