Early Illinois Women

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942)

Lucy Parsons was an activist during the labor movement of the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

Lucy Eldine Parsons was born in Waco, Texas in 1853. She and her husband Albert R. Parsons moved to Chicago in the 1870s. Lucy was one of the first African American women to write against the lynchings and other racial attacks in the South. She and Albert wrote and spoke for radical causes.

They are best known for their support of the labor movement of the late 1800s. Lucy was among the organizers of the attempted strike in 1886 that lead to the bombing in Chicago's Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886 ("The Haymarket Riot"). Albert Parsons, her husband, was one of the four hanged for his alleged involvement in the bombing.

Lucy continued to be active in the radical wing of the labor movement until her death in 1942.


  1. Ashbaugh, Carolyn. (1976). Lucy Parsons, American Revolutionary. Charles H. Kerr (for the Illinois Labor History Society), Chicago.
  2. Calmer, Alan. (1937) Labor Agitator: The Story of Albert R. Parsons. International Publishers, New York.
  3. Foner, Philip S., Ed. (1969) The Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs. Humanities Press, New York. (first printed in the Knights of Labor, published in Chicago).
  4. Parsons, Lucy Eldine. (1889) Life of Albert R. Parsons, with Brief history of the Labor Movement in America. Published by the author, Chicago, Illinois.

Return to Main Page
This page last updated: Friday, 24-Sep-1999 14:53:50 CDT

Copyright Notice