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Emma Goldman documentary draws on Berkeley archives

– A University of California, Berkeley, research unit plays a role in a TV documentary on anarchist and radical feminist Emma Goldman, being broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service next Monday.

The Emma Goldman Papers Project opened its doors to the filmmakers, providing research materials and information contained in the film, said Barry Pateman, an historian and associate editor with the campus-based project. Since 1980, the project has collected and edited tens of thousands of documents about Goldman. Later this year, University of California Press is publishing "Making Speech Free," the project's second in a four-volume American Years series about Goldman.

Emma Goldman documentary posterThe 90-minute film, airing on the PBS program "American Experience" at 9 p.m. April 12, tells the story of Goldman, the anarchist writer and lecturer who spoke fearlessly in support of free speech, birth control, women's rights and labor. She spoke out against government and big business, but her outspoken opposition to war and World War I, along with her protest against the draft, led to the deportation of this so-called "most dangerous anarchist in America." She was ordered back to her native Russia in 1919, and returned just once to the United States before her death in Toronto in 1940.

Pateman said director Mel Bucklin visited the Emma Goldman Papers Project in 1997 to review documents and photographic material and to interview all project editors. An extensive interview with Pateman is interspersed throughout the film, and he is credited as one of its advisors.

Candace Falk, founding director and editor of the Emma Goldman Papers, said she is thrilled that the project's work of the past 25 years has helped lay the foundation for bringing the deported Goldman firmly back into the "American Experience." Falk noted that another documentary, "Anarchist Guest" by Coleman Romalis, which aired last year in the United States and Canada, also relied heavily on the Emma Goldman Papers archive and on staff interviews.

"I hope the gathering interest represented by the upcoming 'American Experience' feature on Emma Goldman marks a new wave of interest in one of the most eloquent women of the 20th century, whose words continue to resonate and inspire - especially now," Falk said.

More information about the Emma Goldman Papers Project is available on the project's website.