By 1934, public anxiety over "Red Emma" had cooled somewhat. Prominent liberals campaigned for Emma Goldman to be permitted to return to the United States for a lecture tour. Among them were Roger Nash Baldwin, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union; philosopher John Dewey; author Sinclair Lewis; and birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. Playwright Eugene O'Neill was among the arts figures who wrote letters on Goldman's behalf.
It was finally settled that Goldman would make a ninety-day tour beginning on February 1, 1934. She was forbidden to make remarks of a political nature, though the detailed directives the Roosevelt Administration provided on this subject were vague.
Goldman arrived by train in Rochester as scheduled on February 1, where she was greeted by relatives, friends, and the press. "My views have not changed," she told reporters. "I am still an anarchist. ... The world has changed—that's why I haven't had to."
Her first public event was held on February 11 in Manhattan. She addressed a crowd of 2,000 delivering an appreciation of the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin that had extensive political content but triggered no official sanction. From then on, she was free to speak her mind. Still, Goldman was no longer the fiery rabble-rouser she had once been; press accounts often described her as "motherly."
Goldman made two lecture appearances in Rochester, at the Powers Hotel on March 17 and at Convention Hall on April 15. She concluded her tour and returned to Canada as scheduled at the end of April.
The tour was not financially successful, but Goldman was greatly heartened that she had been taken seriously by so many journalists and opinion-makers who had reviled her earlier in the century. "The trip to the United States has revived my spirit," she wrote to a friend before leaving the country.