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Lucy Parsons
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Advocate
    (1853-March 7, 1942)
    Born in Texas
    Labor organizer, reformer and civil rights activist
    Birth name was Lucy Eldine Gonzalez
    Of mixed ancestry; with European, African, American Indian, and Mexican roots
    Early member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the Knights of Labor
    Contributor to the Anarchist newspapers, 'The Alarm' and 'The Socialist'
    Founder and Editor of the short-lived newspaper, 'Freedom' (1892)
    Widow of Anarchist martyr, Albert Parsons, who was executed for alleged complicity in the Haymarket Square bombing (1887)
    Became active with the Anarchist movement and prominent socialist causes, most notably the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
    Became active with the Socialistic Labor Party (SLP) and the American Communist Party around 1925, officially joining in 1939
    Worked with the coalition for International Labor Defense (ILD) until her death in 1945
    Namesake for the Lucy Parsons Center and Bookstore in Jamaica Plain, Boston
    She was called 'more dangerous than a thousand rioters.'
    She feuded with Emma Goldman over women's issues.
    She was regularly arrested for distributing anarchist literature.
    She may have already been married at the time of her union with Albert Parsons.
    She couldn't decide whether she wanted to be an anarchist, socialist, communist, and syndicalist, changing parties continuously over the years.
    She downplayed her African-American heritage, opting to emphasize her Mexican-Indian roots to explain her dark skin tone.
    She aided the Communist Party in their hijacking of The Scottsboro Boys Trial in order to boost the cause's visibility (1931).
    She was suspected of complicity in the Haymarket Square Bombing, but was not charged along with her husband and August Spies, for fear that to have a woman defendant would ease their sentence and save them from the death penalty.
    Feminist scholars would later dismiss her as 'a pathetic figure' 'largely propelled by her husband's fate,' 'living in the past and crying injustice.'
    She took part in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
    She lived in virtual poverty after her husband's death.
    She was a colleague of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones, and Jane Addams.
    She was the first major Socialist activist who was also a woman of color.
    She was alienated within her own movement for raising concerns about race and gender equality.
    Emma Goldman snubbed her in her autobiography, merely referring to her as 'the mulatto' Albert Parsons married.
    Her marriage to Albert Parsons was not considered binding due to Texas miscegenation laws of the period.
    She and her husband were forced to leave Texas due to their political activities and calls for enfranchisement for blacks.
    She headed off a major campaign for clemency on behalf of her husband after he was charged with the Haymarket Square bombing, but failed to save him.
    She brought her children to see their father before his execution, but they were arrested, jailed, forced to strip, and left naked together in a cold cell until after he was hanged.
    She advocated nonviolent demonstration and civil disobedience decades before Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. would do so.
    She led a march of ten thousand to address the needs of San Francisco's hungry and homeless population in 1907, forcing the government's hand in working to decentralize unemployment.
    She died in an 'accidental' house fire, at the age of 89, and her lover George Markstall died the next day from wounds he received while trying to save her.
    Mysteriously, her library of 1,500 books on sex, socialism and anarchy were vanished, along with all of her personal papers, which would explain why she has been virtually forgotten (it is believed the FBI confiscated them).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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