November 17 in freethought history…

voltairinedecleyreNovember 17, 1866 - Freethought/anarchist activist and writer Voltairine de Cleyre is born in Leslie,  Michigan. Named after 18th century philosopher Voltaire, she was an atheist from an early age: her parents sent her to a Catholic school in Ontario in hopes of a better education. She tried to run away by swimming to Michigan. Really. She became active in the freethought movement, but refocused her activism towards anarchism in the aftermath of the Haymarket Riot. She described herself as an “anarchist without adjectives,” contrasting herself to other contemporary communist and socialist anarchists like Emma Goldman. She died in Chicago in 1912, aged 45.

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