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STORIES / Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman dedicated her life to anti-war activism and social justice organizing. Her lectures on anarchist philosophies attracted thousands and fostered dedicated community organizing networks.

A portrait illustration of Emma Goldman.

Anarchist and Anti-War Activist

Emma Goldman was born in 1869 to a Jewish family in Lithuania. Escaping European pogroms, she immigrated to the United States in 1885, dedicating herself to anarchism. Her anti-war activism led to deportation in 1919, and after years of exile in Europe, she arrived in Canada in 1939. Despite finding Toronto “deadly dull,” Goldman persisted. Her oratory skills fostered a vibrant anarchist movement. She encouraged local anarchists to organize, leading to the formation of the Libertarian Group, which held anti-fascist demonstrations, supported Spanish Civil War refugees, and hosted weekly political discussions. The RCMP closely monitored Goldman’s activities during her time in Canada.

Goldman’s lasting impact on Toronto can be seen in the city’s continued engagement in progressive social movements and the pursuit of equality and justice.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

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