Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons Biography.com

Activist, Activist, Journalist(c. 1853–1942)
Lucy Parsons was an activist who was politically radical for her times and one of the first minority activists.

Synopsis

In the mid-1870s, Lucy Parson became involved in many political organizations, including the Socialistic Labor Party (SLP). She became even more radical later on, joining the International Working People’s Association, an anarchist organization, who believed that the government should be dismantled and capitalism should end and thought these goals should be accomplished by any means necessary.

Profile

Activist, anarchist, and writer. Born around 1853 in Texas. Little is known about Parsons?? early years, and she offered conflicting accounts of her own personal history. Some reports indicate that she may have been born a slave, but she only stated that she was of Mexican and Native American descent.

What is clear is that Lucy Parsons was politically radical for her times and one of the first minority activists. She sent much of her time as a champion for others, including minorities, women, and laborers. She married Albert Parsons??a former soldier and a political activist??in 1871. The couple moved to Chicago a few years later where they became involved in the city??s labor struggle.

While in Chicago, Lucy and Albert Parson became involved in many political organizations, including the Workingmen??s Party of the United States and the Socialistic Labor Party (SLP). She wrote articles in support of the working class in the SLP??s publication called the Socialist, and spoke out on women??s issues, such as the right to vote, for the Working Women??s Union.

In early 1880s, Lucy Parsons became even more radical. She joined the International Working People??s Association, an anarchist organization. The group believed that the government should be dismantled and capitalism should end and thought these goals should be accomplished by any means necessary, including violence. Known for her powerful speeches, Parsons led a strike in May 1886 in Chicago??s Haymarket Square. The event turned into a riot, and the whole incident became what is known as the Haymarket affair. Her husband was arrested for a bombing related to the strike, and, despite her best efforts to free him, he was executed in 1887.

In 1892, Lucy Parsons created a short-lived newspaper known as Freedom, which decried the lynching of African Americans and exploitive sharecropping system. She went on to become a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Lucy Parsons died in a fire at her Chicago home on March 7, 1942. She is remembered as an anarchist, a reformer, and an labor activist who inspired others with her words to fight for social justice.

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