Lucy Parsons, born into slavery in 1853, made it her life’s mission to fight for the poor and disenfranchised.
Her work started in Texas, but she was forced to flee to Chicago after police shot her husband, threatening to lynch him for registering Black voters.
In Chicago, she worked as a dressmaker while organizing housewives and writing for the radical press.
She was outspoken against poor working conditions and actively promoted violence as the only way to change the oppressive capitalist system.
After a workers’ protest in 1886, a local newspaper encouraged people to poison homeless beggars, or “tramps.”
Parsons responded by writing, "Let every dirty, lousy tramp arm himself with a revolver or knife and lay in wait on the steps of the palaces of the rich ..."
Her words resonated with the masses of oppressed workers.
Parsons’ active resistance to the system prompted law enforcement to say she was "more dangerous than a thousand rioters." The FBI even forbid her from speaking in public.
When she died mysteriously in 1942, federal agents raided her home. They stole 40 years worth of writing on anarchy and socialism. To this day, these works have remained hidden from the public.
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