Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jacqueline Jones

Jacqueline Jones holds the Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History and the Mastin Gentry White Professorship in Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of several books, including A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America (2013). That book and Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present (25th Anniversary Edition, 2010) were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize; Labor of Love won the Bancroft Prize for 1986.

Jones's new book is Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical.

From the author's Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you decide to write a biography of Lucy Parsons?

A: Several reasons: When I teach American history, I am always on the lookout for little-known women who did great things and/or lived fascinating lives. Carolyn Ashbaugh’s 1976 biography of Parsons provided a good overview, but LP’s early years—before she moved to Chicago—remained a mystery.

Now, with all the great digitized historical databases available, I thought it was time to revisit Parsons and see what more I could find out about her—the public persona she crafted for herself, as well as her private life.

Too, I wanted to know more about this self-identified anarchist—what that political stance meant in the 1880s and beyond. Parsons fits uneasily within the rigid Left-Right/liberal-conservative categories we use today to label people and their political views.

She thought the federal government was inherently oppressive, and she vehemently rejected what we would call identity politics, arguing that her own background was irrelevant to her message of class struggle. She was a strong proponent of labor unions.

After the early 1880s she never voted for anyone at any time in any kind of election. She believed that money and capitalist interests had thoroughly corrupted the two-party political system.

I was also interested in learning how she came to be so prescient about so many issues that strike us as modern—the...[read on]
Learn more about Goddess of Anarchy at the Basic Books website.

My Book, The Movie: Goddess of Anarchy.

--Marshal Zeringue