chapter  18
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Pages 6

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn led a long, illustrious and stormy life. She was brought up in the Bronx by educated, militant Irish-American workingclass parents. Her father, Thomas Flynn, was a quarry worker and civil engineer who disliked working, rationalizing that his labor would only make some capitalist richer. A member successively of the Knights of Labor, the Anti-Imperialist League, the Socialist Labor and Socialist parties, he loved political debate, arguing in the pub, in the park, and in political groups. Her mother, Anne Gurley, was by contrast extremely diligent, supporting the household by taking in sewing. She read aloud to the family from Irish history and poetry volumes, joined an Irish club of women suffrage supporters, and went out of her way to hear Susan B. Anthony and other suffrage speakers. Rich in culture, the family remained economically impoverished. Bills went unpaid, the gas was turned off repeatedly, and during some winters all four children slept in a single bed with their coats on.