The Lucy Parsons Center Collective

Brief Background

The Lucy Parsons Center is an all-volunteer, nonprofit collective, operating as both a radical, independent bookstore and a community center for individuals to drop in, as well as a free meeting and event space for local activist groups.

The Lucy Parsons Center was founded on July 1, 1992. It is a successor organization to the Red Book Store, originally founded in 1969 (or 1971, or 1972, depending on your source!). Red Book gave outstanding service to Boston's progressive/radical community for more than 20 years, and many of its traditions, allies and experiences have been folded into the Lucy Parsons Center.

The Center is a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. It is maintained entirely by volunteers, except where noted in the History section of this webpage. In addition to volunteers, there is also a large number of long-standing supporters who connect us to the community. The Center is an independent educational institution not affiliated with or beholden to any other individual, group, party, organization or government.

The Collective

The activities and decision making of the Lucy Parsons Center are made collectively, by collective members. The collective members are volunteers who have participated in running and operating the Center, and who both agree to the mission of the Center, and choose to participate in the functioning of the center by becoming part of the collective and participating in decision making. Collective members operate the center and make decisions through bi-monthly meetings of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee creates the meeting agendas, holds the meetings, and makes decisions and takes action on agenda items. Minutes are taken and each meeting is facilitated by a different collective member. Anyone is welcome to attend Steering Committee meetings, however only collective members may participate in decision making. All decisions are made by consensus.


One of the main volunteer activities is staffing the bookstore, which primarily involves handling the daily customer sales and upkeep of the store. In addition, there are many activities within and outside of the bookstore that volunteers and collective members contribute to: bookkeeping, book ordering, staffing/schedule coordinator, book tabling at local events, coordinating events in-store, newsletters, fundraising, and much more. People interested in becoming involved in the Lucy Parsons Center are free to call or come in to the bookstore and sign up for volunteer training or simply talk with any collective member.


The Lucy Parsons Center depends primarily upon the sales of books, magazines, and other items for its income. Other important sources of income include periodic funding appeals to individual donors by phone and mail, fundraising events such as benefit lectures, dinners, etc., and vigorous soliciting of book donations. We need, encourage, and appreciate donations of books, in-kind donations of services or materials, and money. You can donate money to us online, if you wish.