Black, Chicana, and First Nations radical socialist and anarchist labor organizer Lucy E. [González or Gonzales] Parsons (1853-1942) ca. 1920.
“Feared by the authorities because of her charismatic fiery speeches and intellect, the first Afro-Latina woman of color to engage prominently in the history of the Leftist American labor movement was labeled as ‘more dangerous than a thousand rioters’ by the Chicago Police Department.”
William Loren Katz writes in a passage adapted from Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage,
A dynamic, militant, self-educated public speaker and writer, she became the first American woman of color to carry her crusade for socialism across the country and overseas. Lucy Gonzales started life in Texas. She was of Mexican American, African American, and Native American descent and born into slavery. The path she chose after emancipation led to conflict with the Ku Klux Klan, hard work, painful personal losses, and many nights in jail. In Albert Parsons, a white man whose Waco Spectator fought the Klan and demanded social and political equality for African Americans, she found a handsome, committed soul mate. The white supremacy forces in Texas considered the couple dangerous and their marriage illegal, and soon drove them from the state…
She was one of only two women delegates (the other was Mother Jones) among the 200 men at the founding convention of the militant Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the only woman to speak…
Lucy Parsons’ determined effort to elevate and inspire the oppressed to take command remained alive among those who knew, heard, and loved her. But few today are aware of her insights, courage, and tenacity. Despite her fertile mind, writing and oratorical skills, and striking beauty, Lucy Parsons has not found a place in school texts, social studies curricula, or Hollywood movies.