Born June 24, 1848, in Montgomery, Ala.; died Nov. 11, 1887, in Chicago, Ill. American labor leader.
A worker in the printing trades, Parsons joined the Socialist Workers Party of America in 1876 and was soon playing an important role in the party. He was strongly influenced by anarcho-syndicalism. From 1884 to 1886, Parsons published the newspaper Alarm. He was active in the struggle for the eight-hour workday. On May 1, 1886, he helped organize a rally and demonstration in Chicago. Together with other workers, Parsons was arrested on trumped-up charges connected with the killing of several policemen and was subsequently executed.