I never wanted to be known.
I kept my story to myself; I never told anyone that I was born a slave in Virginia; I told the world I was a Mexican maiden from Texas —white Americans respect Mexicans.
I never told the world about Oliver, about our baby.
No, the public has no right to my past.
But Albert, he loved to be known. He loved to be seen, to be heard.
Above all, he loved adventure.
Albert used to brag that there was a Parsons in every social, religious and political revolution on U.S. soil. Growing up in Texas, his pride itched for the chance to fight alongside the next Washington.
This love of adventure led him to take many sides.
As a boy of 13, it led him to abandon a newspaper apprenticeship and join his older brothers in the Confederate army, fighting to defend slavery.
By the time he grew into a man (and the Confederacy had been defeated), he could finally reflect on the humanity of the colored people who raised him, worked in his employ and alongside him. He became an abolitionist-in-hindsight.
He used the newspaper he ran to encourage freedmen to register to vote, and he joined the Republican party —architects of Reconstruction and Civil Rights, crushers of the slaveholder rebellion. In doing so, he earned the fiery hate of his former Confederate and Democratic “comrades.” When the Ku Klux Klan prevented him from publishing his paper, he threw himself into politics full-time, eventually working for President Grant.
He would boast that his political career was full of excitement and danger. His love of adventure drove him on.
It was at this time when he and I met and began our adventure. Albert’s party had made our mixed-race union legal, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. We left Texas and settled in Chicago, among a community of German immigrants and laborers that would become our home ever since. Here, our work for the cause of true socialism, of anarchism, began.
by Thomas Boguszewski