Lucy Eldine Gonzalez Parsons (circa 1853 – March 7, 1942) was a prominent American labor organizer, influential socialist, and staunch anarcho-communist. Renowned for her compelling speeches, Parsons became involved in radical movements after marrying newspaper editor Albert Parsons. The couple relocated from Texas to Chicago, where she contributed to his well-known publication, The Alarm.
Parsons was a fearless advocate for the working class, championing workers’ rights and pushing for social reforms to improve their lives. She fought against wage slavery, child labor, and the exploitation of workers, and was dedicated to addressing income inequality and economic injustice.
After her husband’s execution in 1887, linked to the Haymarket affair, Parsons continued as a leading figure in American radical activism. She co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and participated in various political organizations, such as the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party USA. Parsons tirelessly campaigned for change throughout her life and inspired countless individuals to join her fight for workers’ rights.
Lucy Parsons was born in Buffalo Creek, Texas, in 1853, though she cited Virginia as her birthplace on her children’s birth certificates. Her background remains poorly documented, with inconsistent accounts making it challenging to distinguish facts from myths.
Her death certificate lists her parents as Pedro Díaz and Marites González, both of Mexican origin. Parsons may have been born into slavery, with her ancestry possibly including Native American, African American, and Mexican roots. She denied any African heritage, asserting only Native American and Mexican lineage.
Parsons’ tenacity and unwavering commitment to her cause earned her the respect of her allies and adversaries. Despite facing numerous challenges, including government surveillance and social ostracism, she remained a steadfast advocate for the working class until she died in 1942.