Overview of Chapter P : Known as a fiery, uncompromising labor leader and anarchist, Lucy Parsons gained notoriety after Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Massacre and the execution of her husband Albert. My decision to select her as one of my twenty-six individuals stemmed from Parson’s own writings and the fascinating, if painful, ways in which she experienced Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, Progressivism, and the Red Scare of the 1920s as an African American.
1. Lucy Parsons struggled to find a kindred spirit or ideological ally in Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, and leaders in the IWW or the Communist Party of America, . Why do you think this was so? Does this make her more or less admirable?
2. Lucy Parsons wrong to deny her racial and ethnic heritage?
3. Lucy Parsons is the only featured American in the book. Discuss the benefits and limitations the author made with this choice.
1. Reenact the Haymarket Trial (without presuming a guilty verdict) with students playing the roles of prosecutors, defendants, witnesses, judge, and jury.
2. Take a speech by an American socialist or Progressive and identify those parts with which Lucy Parsons would have disagreed.
• This article argues that the effects of the Haymarket Riot and bombing changed the way native-born Americans perceived immigrants and helped generate a xenophobia that can still be seen today. See: Veronika Janas, “The Significance of the Haymarket Tragedy Then and Now,” ESSAI, Volume 17, Article 23 (Spring 2019), https://dc.cod.edu/essai/vol17/iss1/23
Lucy Parsons, photographed by August Brauneck, in 1886. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) rally in Union Square, New York City on April 11, 1914. Courtesy of the George Grantham Bain Collection and the Library of Congress.
IWW Anti-capitalism poster printed 1911 This International Workers of the World (IWW) poster documents capitalist exploitation of working class labor. Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh and Wikimedia Commons.
Emma Goldman, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, Mar. 6. 1934. Courtesy of the Library of Congress,
This print documents the Pullman Strike of 1894. The three portraits at the top are of Capitalist George Pullman, Republican Senator Cushman K. Davis, and American Railroad Union leader Eugene Debs. The four illustrations shows disruptions to railroad traffic. From "The great railway strikes - scenes in and about Chicago, sketches by G.A. Coffin." Courtesy of the Library of Congress,
Pullman Strike, Illinois, 1894. Courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America and the Newberry Library.