The award-winning author Jacqueline Jones is the Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History at the University of Texas. Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical (Basic Books, 2017) is a biography of the riveting life of Lucy Parsons. As an activist, writer and speaker, Parsons embodied the most radical expression of the battle for labor rights in American history, yet her life remains a mystery. Born an enslaved woman in 1851 of mixed lineage, the circumstances of her birth and early life are unknown. Exceedingly beautiful and articulate, she met and married Albert Parsons, a Confederate army veteran, in Waco, Texas in 1872. Their politics shifted from loyal Republicans to socialism and finally to anarchism advocating for white labor in Chicago. As a dynamic and radical duo engaged in extensive writing, charismatic speaking and alliances across multiple labor organizations, they became symbols of unrelenting agitation against industrial capitalism. Their call for armed resistance and involvement with the Haymarket bombing and trial, led to the execution of Albert leaving Lucy Parsons to carry their mutual legacy alone. Jones has brought to life an enigmatic figure whose compelling presence left a mark on the history of the radical movement for labor rights.
Lilian Calles Barger, podcast co-host
New Books in American Studies