She Refused to be Silenced

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) is a woman of history in my ongoing examination of “Strong Women.” Parsons, the “Queen of Anarchy,” was a woman of contradictions. The Chicago police department considered her “more dangerous than 1000 rioters.”  surveilled her, arrested her, and fined her over and over. Yet, she refused to be silenced. Early Life Lucy Parsons, nee Lucia Carter, was born a slave in Virginia around 1853. Lucia had “fairer” skin and was “comely.” Most likely she was the daughter of her master. As the Civil War came to a close, she, her mother, and younger brother were among the slaves Dr. Taliaferro brought with him when he moved. The trip to rural McLennan county Texas was long and probably traumatic to Lucy as a twelve-year-old slave girl.  In 1866, Taliaferro moved to Tennessee to marry. Freed people in the Texas countryside suffered “a general reign of terror.” Lucia’s mother moved her family to Waco. The small town was safer for freed people. By 1870, Lucia, a seamstress, lived with a freedman named Oliver Benton, formerly known as Oliver Gathings. Biographers presume he was the father of her stillborn child. In the early 1870s, she met Albert Richard Parsons (1845-1887) […]