Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) was a radical labour organizer, anarchist and is remembered as a powerful orator. Born in Texas (likely as a slave) to parents of Native American, Black American and Mexican ancestry.

In 1871 she married Albert Parsons, a former Confederate soldier, and both were forced to flee from Texas north to Chicago because of the intolerance caused by their interracial marriage.

Described by the Chicago Police Department as "more dangerous than a thousand rioters", Lucy Parsons and her husband became highly effective anarchist organizers primarily involved in the labour movement but also participating in revolutionary activism on behalf of political prisoners, people of colour, the homeless and women.

In 1886, her husband Albert Parsons was executed by the state of Illinois for his participation in the movement for the 8 hour day during the Haymarket Riot (an event which marks the beginning of May Day).

In 1905, she participated in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, and continued her fight for liberty and equality until her death in 1942. The state still viewed Lucy Parsons as such threat to the status quo, that after her death police seized her library of over 1500 books and all of her personal papers.