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1920. On January 2, up to 10,000 suspected radicals were arrested in cities across the nation, to be held for deportation. "Alien filth," Attorney General Palmer said of those captured in the raids that bore his name, "out of the sly and crafty eyes of many of them leap cupidity, cruelty, insanity, and crime."
My husband and I were probably among the last ones. We were living in Philadelphia and had been at a chorus rehearsal. One o'clock, there was a banging on the doors. It woke up the whole building. There were police cars and detectives all over the street. They came in and took all my books, all my letters, every little paper they could get hold of. They threw it all in big bags like the post office has and took them away. Then they took my husband and me away. I was almost seven months pregnant. The police threw me in the wagon. And I was locked up with five or six prostitutes. I got sick from all the excitement and the way the police handled me. Those prostitutes, I want to tell you, were the nicest people. They realized I might lose the baby. They raised an awful rumpus, screaming, knocking on the door, hollering, "This woman is dying! Get her an ambulance!" But no one responded. All night they banged on the door while I lay there suffering. Well, my companions in jail saved my life, but they couldn't save the baby's. Before the ambulance came, it was morning and the baby was dead.