Born into slavery in Texas, Lucy Parsons moved to an apartment at 1129 North Milwaukee in 1871 with her husband Albert Parsons, hoping that the city would be more hospitable to a marriage between a former Confederate soldier, who was white, and a black woman. Instead, Parsons found herself a prisoner and young widow, as Albert was hung in 1887 for his alleged role in the Haymarket bombing. Parsons and her children were taken to jail. Undaunted, she dedicated her life to the rights of workers. She edited several left-wing newspapers and made speeches around the world for workers’ rights. She joined Big Bill Haywood as one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World and was an ally to Jane Addams and her Hull House. A member of the Communist and Socialist parties, she fought for the rights of workers until her eighties, when she inspired a young writer named Studs Terkel with a speech she made in Bughouse Square. She is now buried in Forest Home Cemetery, in Forest Park, not far from the Haymarket Monument.
Best of Chicago 2016