Lucy Parsons won't let Americans forget the meaning of May 1. After her husband was hanged for having led the 8-hour movement in America, she spent the rest of her life, from 1887 to 1943, telling people of the battles and sacrifices that working Amercans made. She leafleted, wrote, spoke, and demonstrated at every opportunity. She led the march, in 1915, where the union's hymn "Solidarity Forever" was introduced. She was arrested over and over again for speaking up for labor. She helped form the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party. America has no greater heroine.
Lucy, and the events of May 1, 1886, are celebrated throughout the world (except here). In France, nobody works on May 1! In 80 countries May 1 is a national holiday. Anti-communism and a concerted effort from big corporate bosses has kept most Americans ignorant of our own important history. But their great economic crisis today has caused their grip to loosen. We'll be celebrating May 1st in Dallas this year.
Today in Dallas, retired teacher Grace Akbar brings Lucy back to life to continue her message. She plans to perform her act in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3104 Dyer Street, at SMU starting at 6:30 Wednesday, May 1st. In the little playlet, Lucy comes to life to set things straight against an old graybeard history lecturer who has some of the facts, but none of the heart and soul, of the great events of 1886.
Glenn Johnson, a graduate student in theology at SMU, and the Workers Defense Project are responsible for organizing this important event. We won't just be looking backward at American labor history, but also looking forward to today's and tomorrow's battles. It will be a chance to understand how we got where we are in order to go much further. Walmart organizers are part of the program.
I'll be there. Hope to see you, too!