What Censorship Looks Like

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Mother Earth, founded in 1907 and co-edited by Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, was an anarchist American journal. In 1917, it began to publish its opposition to the United States’ entry into World War I and to disobey government laws on registration for the military draft. On June 15, 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act, which criminalized any interference in U.S. foreign policy, up to and including espionage. The Act authorized prison terms of up to 20 years for anyone who resisted the U.S. government. Goldman and Berkman (who also edited The Blast) continued to advocate against conscription, and eventually they were deported to their country of origin, Russia. The Mother Earth offices were searched and subscription lists seized. The magazine, which espoused women’s emancipation, sexual freedom and birth control, ceased publication, although for a brief time it published the Bulletin below. This was one of many times that censorship took hold in the United States.


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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →