Parsons, Albert Richard

Parsons, Albert Richard

(1848–87) anarchist, labor activist; born in Montgomery, Ala. Orphaned early, he went to work as a printer's devil (1861) and fought with the Confederate army. He later embraced socialism, campaigning unsuccessfully for several offices, then joined the radical International Working People's Association and began editing its paper (1884). A speaker at the Haymarket rally in Chicago where a bomb killed several people (May 1886), he was tried, and, despite a lack of evidence, convicted, with several others, of conspiracy to commit murder. He refused to seek clemency, and amid outpourings of appeals on his behalf, he was hanged.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.