Goddess of Anarchy

The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical


By Jacqueline Jones

Formats and Prices




$55.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 5, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

From a prize-winning historian, a new portrait of an extraordinary activist and the turbulent age in which she lived

Goddess of Anarchy recounts the formidable life of the militant writer, orator, and agitator Lucy Parsons. Born to an enslaved woman in Virginia in 1851 and raised in Texas-where she met her husband, the Haymarket “martyr” Albert Parsons-Lucy was a fearless advocate of First Amendment rights, a champion of the working classes, and one of the most prominent figures of African descent of her era. And yet, her life was riddled with contradictions-she advocated violence without apology, concocted a Hispanic-Indian identity for herself, and ignored the plight of African Americans.

Drawing on a wealth of new sources, Jacqueline Jones presents not only the exceptional life of the famous American-born anarchist but also an authoritative account of her times-from slavery through the Great Depression.



THE RADICAL LABOR AGITATOR LUCY PARSONS LIVED MUCH OF her long life in the public eye, but she has nevertheless remained shrouded in mystery. Skilled in the art of rhetorical provocation in the service of justice for the laboring classes, she also offered up a fiction about her origins and denied key elements of her own past. She was born to an enslaved woman in Virginia in 1851, and twenty-one years later married a white man, Albert R. Parsons, in Waco, Texas. Together the couple forged a tempestuous dual career, first as socialists and then as anarchists, urging workers to use all means at their disposal, including physical force, to combat the depredations of industrial capitalism. Their raw rhetoric of class struggle led to Albert’s conviction on charges of murder and conspiracy related to the 1886 bombing in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, and he died on the gallows in November 1887. Among workers then and successive generations of historians since, Lucy Parsons has achieved secular sainthood by virtue of her widowhood. Yet her career transcended the fate of her famous husband.

By the time Albert was executed, Lucy had gained a national reputation as an orator of considerable strength and power and as a fighter for free speech and free assembly. This reputation would remain intact from 1886 until her death in 1942. More than anyone else in her time (or since), she tended the flame of Haymarket, reminding the public of the miscarriage of justice that resulted from an unfair trial. Her story provides a window into the history of industrial and urban workers through a series of transformative eras that took place from the 1880s through the 1930s. Nevertheless, information about her personal life is as meager as her public persona was fulsome. To adoring audiences no less than curious reporters, she refused to reveal more than the most basic facts about her family, including her husband, Albert, and her two children, Albert Jr. and Lulu. During a six-month speaking tour from the fall of 1886 through the spring of 1887, she traveled to seventeen states and addressed (by her reckoning) forty-three audiences ranging in size from a couple of hundred to several thousand. At her first stop, in Cincinnati, a reporter asked about her background. The thirty-five-year-old Parsons demurred: “I am not a candidate for office, and the public have no right to my past. I amount to nothing to the world and people care nothing for me. I am simply battling for a principle.” However, Parsons was mistaken in her claim that the public had no interest in her apart from her message of a looming revolution that would overthrow capitalism.1

Public speaker, editor, free-speech activist, essayist, fiction writer, publisher, and political commentator, Parsons was one of only a handful of women of her day, and virtually the only person of African descent, apart from Frederick Douglass, to speak regularly to large audiences. She addressed enthusiastic crowds up and down the East Coast, across the Midwest, and into the Far West for well over five decades. She was a courageous advocate of First Amendment rights, notable for her confrontational tactics and what many considered her shocking language in pursuit of those rights. She had a never-wavering commitment to a free press, and the alternative periodicals that she edited or that published her writings served as a bracing corrective to the contemporary mainstream news outlets that furthered the interests of the powerful. Her stamina over the decades (she was born in a year when the average life expectancy was forty years) speaks to her deep drive: she loved the spotlight, whether that meant center-stage in a hall or a front-page, above-the-fold headline.

Lucy Parsons lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction and engaged directly with the monumental issues shaping the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the Red Scare during and after World War I (a political movement with its origins in efforts to silence her during the late 1880s), the reactionary 1920s, and the Great Depression and New Deal. She demonstrated a remarkable prescience about the vicissitudes of modern capitalism, including the effects of technology on the workplace and the structure of the labor force; the role of labor unions as a countervailing force to corporations; the corrupting influence of money on politics; the inadequacy of the two-party system to address fundamental economic and social inequalities in American life; the cyclical depressions and recessions that hit hardworking people; the lengths to which local police forces and private security companies would go to suppress strikers and violently intimidate their leaders; and the everyday struggles of ordinary people, men and women, to make a decent life for themselves and their families. On countless occasions she defied the attempts of the authorities to silence her, and she remained uncompromising in her denunciations of an economic system that ravaged the unemployed and the white industrial laboring classes. From the early 1880s onward, Parsons held fast to the ideal of a nonhierarchical society emerging from trade unions, a society without wages and without coercive government of any kind.

Neither she nor her anarchist comrades, though, appreciated the larger political significance of many Americans’ fierce ethnic and religious loyalties. And she ignored the unique vulnerability of African Americans, whose history was not merely a variation on the exploitation of the working class, but a product of the myth of race in all its hideous iterations. She and Albert lost faith in the power of words to persuade and educate, turning instead to using words to threaten and intimidate, a fatal decision that sent him and his comrades to their deaths. On her own, she favored lurid predictions about the fate that the robber barons, judges, and police would meet should she have her way, a mode of speaking that tarred all anarchists with the brush of violent revolt and alienated reformers working for incremental legislative and regulatory measures. In the Gilded Age, the collective labor actions that she and her allies championed could bring whole cities, or the national rail system, to a grinding halt, but the power of those actions obscured the fact that most American workers rejected radicalism in favor of the chimera of a humane capitalism.2

A saint, secular or otherwise, Lucy Parsons was not. Her life was full of ironies and contradictions: She was born to an enslaved woman but maintained a pronounced indifference to the plight of African American laborers, not only those in the South but also in her adopted home of Chicago. She was a frankly sexual being who presented herself publicly as a traditional wife and mother. She extolled the bonds of family, but left behind in Waco a mother and siblings whom she ignored for the rest of her life. She used her children as political props, and rid herself of her son when he threatened to embarrass her in public. She was a labor agitator who had neither the patience for nor an interest in organizing workers, an anarchist who took a long historical view but remained stubbornly oblivious to major political and economic developments that transformed post–Civil War America. She expressed a deep commitment to informed debate and disquisition, on the one hand, and, on the other, an unthinking invocation of the virtues of explosive devices.

A vehement critic of government in all its forms, Parsons used the courts and police to settle personal disputes with creditors, neighbors, lovers, and even blood relations. She preached the need for a united front among the laboring classes and their allies against predatory capitalists, but she famously feuded with many fellow radicals, even those who shared her basic views on power and justice. She glorified the masses as agents of an impending revolution, but believed that in order to launch the revolution, ordinary people needed to master complex texts in the fields of history and political theory. She never grasped that the European tactics and cultural symbols she favored would fail as effective organizing devices among native-born Americans. Her story is a cautionary tale about the challenges of promoting a radical message that would appeal to laborers divided by craft, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender, and ideologies of race.

Newspaper coverage of Parsons chronicles her public performances but tells us little or nothing about her internal doubts and resentments. Editors and reporters from New York to San Francisco, from Georgia to Seattle, from Texas to Wisconsin, followed her obsessively. In what was the nineteenth-century equivalent of the Internet, telegraph operators relayed her speeches, as recorded by journalist-stenographers, across the country, ensuring that readers in remote villages no less than in major cities could partake of what today would be called sound bites—especially her most famous injunction to her followers, “Learn the use of explosives!” To her critics, she evoked the destructive power of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871: she was labeled a red-hot firebrand, her words inflammatory, her stubborn resistance to the established order incendiary.

The fact that her ethnic “identity” was indeterminate—she looked neither black nor white—made her all the more intriguing to Americans regardless of political ideology. In searching for an answer to the question, Who is Lucy Parsons? the press described in meticulous (and often contradictory) detail her skin tone and hair texture, the timbre of her voice and the shape of her nose, her style of speaking, and the tragedy that had befallen her family. From Reconstruction through the 1930s, her often-remarked-upon exotic appearance confounded whites curious about her lineage and her “race.”

Significant parts of her life—those lived outside the public eye—are unknowable to us. In anticipation of her first national speaking tour, she created a false biography for herself—the story that she was the daughter of Mexican and Native American parents. At the same time, she did little to promote this fiction, and she often mixed up the details—where her parents were supposedly born, for example—when trying to remember them. Though she was of African descent, she did not consider herself black, and went to considerable lengths to deny the circumstances of her birth and her childhood in slavery. And yet she did not attempt to pass for white, either, and certainly a claim of that sort would have been problematic, given her physical appearance. In effect, she rejected a personal historical or ethnic identity in favor of presenting herself as the champion of the laboring classes; that, she thought, was all that people needed to know about her.

Surely Parsons’s temperament and her outlook on life were shaped by a series of personal traumas and crises. She and her mother and a younger brother had endured a brutal wartime “middle passage” from Virginia to Central Texas. Parsons was predeceased by her husband and three children, including an infant who died while she was living in Waco. The police in Chicago and elsewhere monitored her every movement, tried to keep her from speaking, and dragged her off the stage when she did. She sparred with some of the most famous radicals of the day, including Eugene V. Debs and Emma Goldman, and maintained fraught relations with her husband’s comrades after his death. She survived one devastating house fire only to lose her life in another four decades later.

It is difficult today to fathom some of Parsons’s choices, and many of them were troubling even to her friends at the time. What is clear, however, is that as a woman, a former slave, and a radical, she shouldered heavy burdens and faced formidable barriers as she sought to act as a free and independent person. Throughout her long life she would pursue her own interests—sexual, financial, or otherwise—with a certain ruthlessness, even if those interests were inimical to those of her loved ones. She faced public censure by taking lovers, a willful defiance of the prejudices and expectations of friend and foe alike. Although she is presented here as a flesh-and-blood wife, mother, lover, and public figure—and not as a caricature of a heroine of labor—she nonetheless retains an enduring aura of mystery. She deprived her contemporaries, even her most ardent supporters, of a true understanding of herself. We lack a clear written account that would reveal her innermost desires and as a result are left with only hints of the sources of her anger and bitterness, qualities that were on full display throughout her life.

From the time they moved from Waco to Chicago in 1873 until his death, Albert and Lucy Parsons formed a powerful although seemingly improbable partnership, their individual stories tightly intertwined. Together they developed a mutually advantageous, symbiotic relationship with the press, feeding insatiable editors and reporters with the public theatrics and sensationalistic comments newspaper readers craved. During their years together in Chicago, Lucy’s story was Albert’s story, and vice versa, for they taught and learned from each other, reared two children together, and lectured and strategized together.

However, the story that follows is Lucy’s. The first, and until now only, biography of her was Carolyn Ashbaugh’s Lucy Parsons: An American Revolutionary, published in 1976. Ashbaugh outlined in great detail the trajectory of Parsons’s public life, but provided a largely uncritical perspective of her activism. Ashbaugh also failed to locate her subject’s origins in Virginia and neglected her formative years in Waco. This book takes a more nuanced approach by integrating Parsons’s secret private life with her high-profile public persona in an effort to understand the struggles she faced as a radical and a woman of color. It also draws upon the nationwide press coverage of her in order to gauge her impact as a female agitator.

Although this book focuses on the life of one person born in the middle of the nineteenth century, it reveals much about our own time. Parsons and her comrades analyzed America’s political economy in ways that are recognizable and instructive to us now, illuminating the effects of technological innovation on the workplace, the erosion of the middle class, the corrosive effects of money and influence on public policy making, and the fecklessness of the two major parties in addressing extreme forms of inequality. At the same time, Lucy Parsons’s own career amounts to an indictment of sorts of the radical labor leaders who fell back on threats of violence, misread the fears and disdained the deeply held values of many laboring men and women, and alienated key constituencies as unworthy and irrelevant to the fight for justice. In certain respects, then, the story of Parsons’s times is the story of our own.

The pages that follow include several overlapping narratives—a love story between the former slave and the former Confederate soldier, the rise and decline of radical labor agitation, the fluidity of the idea of race as a political ideology and a social signifier, the trajectory of social reform from Reconstruction through the New Deal, and shifting notions of the relationship between terrorism and the spoken and written word. Mostly, though, it is an account of one woman, remarkable for her resilience and for her ability to reinvent herself. In sum, this book aims to refute Lucy Parsons’s disingenuous claim that “I amount to nothing to the world and people care nothing for me”—a claim that was false in 1886 no less than it is, or should be, today.



Chapter 1

Wide-Open Waco

ONE DAY IN LATE 1873 A YOUNG MARRIED COUPLE BOARDED A train and left—or, more accurately, fled—the small town of Waco in Central Texas, desperately hoping to make a new life for themselves in Chicago. The wife and husband seemed an unlikely pair—she a seamstress, formerly enslaved, age twenty-two, named Lucia Carter, he a Republican Party operative and journalist, formerly a Confederate cavalryman, named Albert Parsons, twenty-eight. They knew all too well that their love was forbidden—for a white man and a black woman in the nineteenth-century South, such a relationship came with the threat of mortal danger.1

Lucia was leaving family behind in Waco—her mother and two younger brothers—as well as an industrious freedman named Oliver Benton, formerly known as Oliver Gathings, the presumed father of her deceased infant son. As she moved north she also abandoned her identity as a former slave, changing her first name from Lucia to Lucy, and her surname from that of her stepfather to that of her husband. From this point forward, she would refuse to let her fourteen years as a slave define her or limit her life possibilities. Their names and careers forever and inextricably linked, she and Albert would soon achieve worldwide fame—and infamy—as anarchists bent on destroying the political and economic foundations of the United States.

They were a striking couple, turning heads wherever they went: Albert slight, trim, and dapper, with prematurely gray hair covered by bootblack, and a carefully trimmed mustache in the English style; Lucia tall, with wavy black hair. She carried herself with a dignified, even haughty bearing, impressing those who met her with her striking good looks, keen intelligence, and fashionable clothing.

The couple’s life together began in a high-prairie town situated on the banks of the Brazos River, a place marked by and destined for intergroup bloodletting. Waco was founded in 1849 in McLennan County on a site once occupied by the Waco and Tawakoni Indians. Another tribe, the fierce nation of the Comanche, persisted in efforts to reclaim their stolen territory in the vicinity of the settlement as late as 1860. Beginning in 1861 and over the next four years, Waco welcomed slaveholders from all over the South who were determined to “refugee” their human chattel out of the reach of both Union forces and Confederate impressment agents. The liberation of the slaves in 1865 entailed the destruction of nearly half the county’s real property value. After the Civil War, a defeated but still heavily armed white male populace carried on a regional tradition of protracted fighting against successive real and perceived enemies—the Comanche, the Mexicans, the government of the United States, and now freedpeople, Republicans, and soldiers of the occupying Union Army. The county achieved a dubious distinction for how completely civil authority broke down there. Vicious, unprovoked attacks on freedpeople marked a level of lawlessness extreme even for Texas.

Waco’s unsettled nature proved conducive, however, to transgressive behavior and relationships. The town’s merchants supplied goods and services to the area’s sheep ranchers, corn and wheat farmers, and cotton planters and to the cattlemen driving their massive herds north to Wichita along the Chisholm Trail. The central plaza was dominated by the offices of men who owned businesses based on credit and land and traded in cotton, grain, hides, wool, and flour. But the plaza was also the site of sporadic and at times deadly gunfire. As in the prewar era, the sons of the planter elite were in the habit of “shooting around the square and riding and whooping,” evading arrest and otherwise having “a little fun,” in the words of a local historian. Meanwhile, the many brothels clustered in a nearby red-light district housed dozens of prostitutes, which authorities discreetly referred to as “actresses.” Waco was a wide-open town, trafficking in desires of all kinds.2

Periodically, local law-enforcement authorities would bow to the pressure of indignant preachers and make sweeps of bigamists, bootleggers, owners of “disorderly houses” (brothels), and enthusiasts of Chuck Luck and other games of chance. Hauled into court, prostitutes, such as Mollie Davis and Frogmouth Lou, among others, would stand trial only to be declared innocent by a jury of twelve men and released to ply their trade until the next raid. Much as the town fathers might rail against sin—the card sharp fleecing the wide-eyed farm boy, the couples living together out of wedlock—this farce of catch and release persisted. In reality, the store owners and other purveyors of goods and services relied upon the business of gullible field hands and cowpokes.3

In the early 1870s, a brief period of Republican local and state rule seemed to hold out the possibility that Lucia and Albert could in fact live together in Waco safely as husband and wife. A small number of black and white reformers touted a new “social equality” that signified consensual interracial sexual relations as well as legal marriage, and the couple took advantage of this window of opportunity to marry legally in a state dominated by white supremacists. Albert seemed to have ahead of him a promising, even lucrative career as a political organizer and speaker—and perhaps an elected public official—in the service of the party of Lincoln. However, by 1873 a reenergized neo-Confederate Democratic Party had regained control of the state’s political machinery via the ballot box. The Parsonses’ move to Chicago in late 1873 was thus a forced relocation reflecting their diminished opportunities as well as the persistent danger they faced in Central Texas. Yet the Waco years profoundly shaped the couple’s lifelong roles as antagonists of the rich and powerful. Indeed, in any number of ways their time in Texas presaged their later life outside it—from their commitment to ideas as agents of radical change to their ability to remain unflinching in the presence of those who despised and feared them.

FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE BIRTHPLACES IN ALABAMA AND VIRGINIA, Albert Parsons and Lucia Carter had traveled separate, circuitous paths to Waco, paths forged in the upheaval of mass migrations, civil strife, and the destruction of slavery. Albert Richard Parsons was born on June 20, 1845, in Montgomery, Alabama. His forebears were among the first settlers of New England. Later in life he would invoke his distinguished ancestors, including Congregational clergy and Revolutionary War heroes, as evidence of his thorough Americanness. His father, Samuel Parsons, a native of Maine, had owned a grocery store and shoe and leather factory in Montgomery; together with his wife, Hannah, they had had ten children. Both parents had died by 1850, and Albert was sent to Tyler, Texas, in Smith County, in the northeastern part of the state, to live with his brother William H. Parsons, who was nineteen years his senior. William had fought with the 2nd Dragoons under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican-American War, when the United States wrested huge swaths of territory from Mexico to expand its southern border. Trained as a lawyer, William edited a newspaper, the Tyler Telegraph, from 1851 to 1853, and he took an early interest in Texas Democratic politics. Between 1855 and 1860, he moved his household three times in a southwesterly direction, to Johnson County, then Hill, then McLennan. Albert had fond memories of his own childhood “on the range,” where antelope and buffalo lived in abundance. As he later wrote from his jail cell, “My frontier life had accustomed me to the use of the rifle and the pistol, to hunting and riding, and in these matters I was considered quite an expert.”4

In 1859, Albert, then fourteen, went to live in the village of Waco with his nineteen-year-old sister, Mary, who had married a wealthy merchant. William probably wanted Albert to attend school, which he did for a year. Around this time, William settled his family nearby on a parcel of land on Waco Creek. An avid proponent of southern independence, William published a periodical called South West that advocated a reopening of the African slave trade, an extreme position even for the most rabid of late antebellum pro-slavery ideologues. The paper was, in the words of a contemporary, “so hot for secession it had to be handled with a pair of tongs.” William also planned to write a book titled “Negro Slavery, Its Past, Present, and Future.” Considering his stern defense of “the purity of blood and supremacy” that he said marked whites as “a distinct race,” he could hardly have anticipated the day when he would be the brother-in-law of a former slave.5

The William Parsons household contained only one enslaved worker, “Aunt Easter,” whom William’s wife, Louisa, had brought to the marriage. In 1860, Easter was fifty years old and worth $800 on the market for human flesh. By this time the state had a total population of 604,215, of whom 182,566 were enslaved persons and only 355 free blacks. (In contrast, Virginia, with a population of 1,596,318, was home to 490,865 enslaved persons and 58,042 free blacks.) Slaveholdings in Central Texas amounted to a value of $2.7 million, more than the value of the region’s land.6

Texas was a perennial magnet for southern planters seeking to take advantage of cheap, fertile land suitable for cotton cultivation in the eastern and central part of the state, and among these slave owners was James J. Gathings. Born in 1817 in South Carolina, Gathings and his two brothers had established a plantation near Prairie, Mississippi, in 1839. The enslaved workers they purchased there included Clara Gatherus and her son Oliver (later called by whites Oliver Gathings), who was born in 1832. As an adult, Oliver, by then known as Oliver Benton, would believe himself to be the father of Lucia’s first child, and he would consider her his wife. In 1849, the Gathings brothers uprooted their bound workforce of thirty and moved them to Hill County, Texas. After the war, James exemplified the virulent resistance to emancipation and Republican rule that characterized much of Anglo Texas.7

The state’s large and powerful slave-owning class overwhelmingly supported disunion. A special February 1861 convention passed a secession ordinance by a vote of 166–8, and, unlike their counterparts in most other states, the fire-eaters submitted the question to the voters, who approved it 46,153 to 14,747. This tally underestimates the opposition, however, as some state residents who had been born in Mexico and Germany did not vote, fearing violence should they attempt it, and other men declined to participate in an election they considered unconstitutional, or at least ill-advised. Moreover, support for secession did not necessarily indicate support for the institution of slavery, since some secessionists were seeking only to protest the federal government’s apparent failure to quell persistent Indian raids on white settlements throughout the state.8

McLennan County voted 586 to 191 for secession, a decisive victory. Soon after hostilities commenced in April, 900 men from the county (out of a total population of 6,200) volunteered to fight on behalf of the newly formed Confederate States of America. Together they composed seventeen companies consisting of both cavalrymen and infantry. In October 1861, William H. Parsons raised a regiment in Waco, the 12th Texas Cavalry, and with his troops set out for Arkansas. During the war he would serve as both a regimental and brigade commander.9

Albert Parsons was not in Waco during the great torchlight parades that gave rousing send-offs to local troops in 1861. The year before, William had arranged for him to serve as an apprentice—a “printer’s devil”—for the publisher Willard Richardson, owner of the Galveston Daily News


  • "Goddess of Anarchy displays the powers of a master historian, taking the reader to both post-Civil War Texas and to Gilded Age Chicago."—ChicagoTribune
  • "An outstanding book.... Jones' fascinating portrait presents an enigmatic, unpredictable activist who sustained a lifelong oratory and writing career."—Booklist
  • "Goddess of Anarchy is meticulously researched."—Harper's Magazine
  • "Jones impresses with this richly detailed and empathetic study of a complex figure."—Publishers Weekly
  • "[A] tough-minded biography of a fiery revolutionary whose activism spanned the decades from Reconstruction to the New Deal...comprehensive and fair."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "In disentangling the riddle of Lucy Parsons, one of America's most famous Anarchists, Jones has written an important biography."—National Book Review
  • "Jones's book persuasively explains both the causes for which Parsons fought as well as inconsistencies apparent in her character and actions. This readable biography will appeal to readers with many interests, including the history of women's studies, radicalism, labor, race relations, urbanism, and especially Chicago."—Library Journal
  • "Thanks to Goddess of Anarchy...readers finally have a penetrating account of Parsons's long, remarkable life."—New York Review of Books
  • "Jacqueline Jones has produced a stunning, meticulously researched, complex narrative of Lucy Parsons, America's first black woman anarchist."—Kali Nicole Gross, author of HannahMary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence inAmerica
  • "No scholar has done more to illuminate the tangled politics of race and class in American history than Jacqueline Jones.... A richly revealing story, brilliantly told."—Michael Willrich, author of Pox: AnAmerican History and City of Courts
  • "With remarkable research and insight, the distinguished historian Jacqueline Jones has recovered the life and thought of an extraordinary historical figure who we barely knew."—Steven Hahn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural Southfrom Slavery to the Great Migration
  • "Lucy Parsons was a unique figure in the history of the American left: eloquent, beautiful, uncompromising in her anarchist faith, and loath to embrace her mixed-race identity. Jacqueline Jones, one of our nation's most distinguished historians, fills her narrative of this remarkable life with both the vivid drama and the critical understanding it deserves."
    Michael Kazin, author of WarAgainst War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918
  • "One of our most talented historians tackles one of American history's most enigmatic figures.... Goddess of Anarchy is at once a fascinating biography and a window onto the tumultuous debates of the Gilded Age."—Karl Jacoby, author of TheStrange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a MexicanMillionaire
  • "This dramatic and impressive book vividly brings the tumultuous and tragic life of ex-slave and American revolutionary Lucy Parsons to what should be a large audience. Even those of us who cherish a more heroic view of Parsons' life in struggle will learn enormously from this meticulously researched and learned biography."—David Roediger, author of Class,Race and Marxism

On Sale
Dec 5, 2017
Page Count
480 pages
Basic Books

Jacqueline Jones

About the Author

Jacqueline Jones  is the Ellen C. Temple Professor of Women’s History Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin and the past president of the American Historical Association. Winner of the Bancroft Prize for Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, she lives in Concord, Massachusetts. 

Learn more about this author