Lucy Parsons delivered ‘I Am An Anarchist’ in 1886. Below is part of what she said.
To read the full speech click on this link: Black Past
This speech was made on a tour to raise money for her husband, Albert R. Parsons who was one of nine men tried and sentenced to be executed for “speaking in such a way as to inspire the bomber to violence” following the Haymarket Square Bombing which killed a Chicago policeman. He was executed.
Go to New York. Go through the byways and alleys of that great city.
Count the myriads starving; count the multiplied thousands who are homeless; number those who work harder than slaves and live on less and have fewer comforts than the meanest slaves.
You will be dumbfounded by your discoveries, you who have paid no attention to these poor, save as objects of charity and commiseration.
They are not objects of charity, they are the victims of the rank injustice that permeates the system of government, and of political economy that holds sway from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Its oppression, the misery it causes, the wretchedness it gives birth to, are found to a greater extent in New York than elsewhere.
In New York, where not many days ago two governments united in unveiling a statue of liberty, where a hundred bands played that hymn of liberty, ‘The Marseillaise.’ But almost its equal is found among the miners of the West, who dwell in squalor and wear rags, that the capitalists, who control the earth that should be free to all, may add still further to their millions!
Oh, there are plenty of reasons for the existence of anarchists…..
Liberty has been named anarchy.
If this verdict is carried out it will be the death knell of America’s liberty. You and your children will be slaves. You will have liberty if you can pay for it.
If this verdict is carried out, place the flag of our country at half mast and write on every fold ‘shame.’ Let our flag be trailed in the dust. Let the children of workingmen place laurels to the brow of these modern heroes, for they committed no crime. Break the two fold yoke.
Bread is freedom and freedom is bread.