Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) was born in Texas to parents of African, Mexican and Native American descent. Because of oppressive Jim Crow laws in the South, Parsons and her husband moved to Chicago where she opened a dress shop. In support of factory workers, she hosted meetings of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union and co-founded the International Working People’s Association in 1883. Becoming more and more outspoken about the rights of the poor, Parsons wrote articles for radical publications which stirred workers across the country to go on strike with the demand for an eight-hour workday. After unarmed strikers in Chicago were wounded and killed by police, radicals held a meeting at Haymarket Square. Police disrupted the meeting and a bomb was thrown at the police killing seven officers. Parsons’ husband (who was not at the meeting) was accused of the bombing and sentenced to death. When she took her children to visit her husband one last time before his hanging, she was arrested and left naked with her children in a jail cell until after her husband was dead.

Parsons continued work her work in Chicago where she was routinely arrested for selling copies of her pamphlet Anarchism. She addressed the Social League of England as well as at the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  As editor of the IWW newspaper The Liberator, Parsons began to address women’s issues including access to birth control. She also took on the issues of hunger and unemployment, organizing marches with thousands of protestors.

After Lucy Parsons died at the age of 89, the FBI confiscated her library of over 1500 books and her personal papers hoping to finally silence this radical woman.

Why this stop? Parsons lived 3 blocks from where the Blue Line Belmont stop is today.

Learn about the Haymarket Riot in this video.

Get Involved — As long as you are not an employer or the member of another union, you can join the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and support their work.