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Lucia Gonzales Waller

Born: 1853 AD
Died: 1942 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Labor Leader

1853 – Lucia Gonzales Waller, born in Texas (likely as a slave) to parents of Native American, Black American and Mexican ancestry. She often went by Lucy Gonzales. She was a radical American labor organizer, anarchist (and later, Communist) and is remembered as a powerful orator.

1871 – She married Albert Parsons, a former Confederate soldier, and both were forced to flee from Texas north to Chicago by intolerant reactions to their interracial marriage.

1883 – She began writing for The Socialist and The Alarm, the journal of the International Working People’s Association (IWPA) which she and Parsons were among the founders.

1886 – Her husband Albert, who had been heavily involved in the labor movement for the eight hour day, was arrested and executed by the state of Illinois on charges that he had conspired in the Haymarket Riot—an event which was widely regarded as a political frame-up, and which marked the beginning of May Day labor rallies in protest.

1892 – She briefly published Freedom: A Revolutionary Anarchist-Communist Monthly, and was often arrested for giving public speeches or distributing anarchist literature.

1905 – She participated in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, and began editing the Liberator, an anarchist newspaper that supported the IWW in Chicago.

1915 – Her focus shifted somewhat to class struggles around poverty and unemployment, when she organized the Chicago Hunger Demonstrations in January.

1925 – She began working with the National Committee of the International Labor Defense.

1927 – A communist-led organization that defended labor activists and unjustly accused African Americans such as the Scottsboro Nine and Angelo Herndon.

1941 – One of her last major appearances was at the International Harvester in February.

1942 – She died on the 7th of March in a house fire, and her lover, George Markstall, died the next day from wounds he received while trying to save her.