The ship USAT Buford, labeled the “Red Ark,” embarked from New York City on this day, carrying 249 aliens who were deported because of their alleged anarchist or Communist beliefs. The most famous passenger was the anarchist, birth control advocate and anti-war activist Emma Goldman, who had been arrested June 15, 1917, for opposing the draft. She was accompanied by her companion, the anarchist Alexander Berkman (September 7, 1922). An estimated 184 of the 249 aliens on the Buford were members of the Union of Russian Workers, which had been one of the principal targets of the first Palmer Raids on November 7, 1919. All of the passengers were shipped to the Soviet Union.
J. Edgar Hoover, then a young bureaucrat in the Bureau of Investigation who played a major role in the Palmer Raids, personally went to New York City to witness the sailing of the Buford. They met at the dock and, incredibly, Hoover asked her, “Haven’t I given you a square deal, Miss Goldman?”
The deportation was part of the post-World War I Red Scare that also included a second and larger set Palmer Raids that began on January 2, 1920.
What a wonderful Christmas gift to Mother Russia.
The US mass-deports 249 suspected Bolshevik and Anarchist radicals aboard “The Soviet Ark” (USS ‘Buford.’) Among them are Emma Goldman (pictured) a prolific anarchist.
The radicals were held ‘incommunicado’ (secretly) and were not allowed to say farewell to friends and family. pic.twitter.com/6TdErZ5FbS
— 1919 Live (@100YearsAgoLive) December 21, 2019