Our May Day celebration at the Museum drew dozens of visitors from as far away as Melbourne Florida, Michigan, Peoria, Chicago and Indiana. Despite pouring rain on Saturday we had a great time and renewed our spirit by remembering the past.
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of new exhibits, with the center of it all the new art We Want Freedom, by Lindsay Hand. The Mother Jones Heritage Project contracted this art for the museum. Rosemary Feurer and Kate Klimut worked closely with Lindsay, and we were so thrilled she could make it to the opening of the exhibit.
Above: We want Freedom, by Lindsay Hand. In third photo is Kate Klimut, who worked closely with Lindsay. The research for the art was by Rosemary Feurer
Many commented about the great food at Tillie’s. If you are in the area, be sure to stop there or at other businesses in Mt. Olive like B&K bakery.
Kate Klimut created this ad for the Tillie's event.
We were happy to have Mari-lynn Evans, the award-winning filmmaker present Blood on the Mountain at the event (pictured below at the monument. The film was warmly-received by those attending. The newly released award-winning documentary is a fearless look at the 150 year history of the coal industry. It has been endorsed by both the United Mine Workers of America and Sierra Club. This is a story of human struggles endured at the mercy of unregulated industries and corrupt politicians.
On hand will be Mari-lynn Evans, the film’s director. Evans noted that she has been “a life-long fan of Mother Jones.” She faced terrific obstacles and efforts to stop the film from the coal industry, which “reminded me of what Mother Jones and activists 100 years ago had to face.”
The film, she notes, “is a story of human struggles endured at the mercy of unregulated industries and corrupt politicians,” that should interest people far beyond West Virginia: “The injustices to the workers, environment and communities in the coalfields of Appalachia are the “canary in a coal mine” illustrating to all Americans what happens when corporations are allowed absolute control to inflict atrocities and politicians abdicate responsibility for those they are elected to protect.”
We shared stories, and received so many great comments about the festive atmosphere and camaraderie. "I love this concept," remarked Shannon Duffy of St. Louis, who came with Bread and Roses chair Joan Suarez.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped. Many of our visitors were a source of inspiration. One commented "“Last year I gave (a donation) on faith. This year I am giving a donation based on what you are accomplishing with the exhibits.”
Project supporter Jeanne Graham, retired Vice President of the BCTGM International Union (Bakers Union), provided the cake for Mother"s 100th, delivered an outsized union cake for our May Day birthday celebration of Mother Jones' chosen birthday. You can see how it was made in the style of the 100th birthday cake from 1930. Thanks to Dave Durkee, International President of the union, and Local 4 in St. Louis, whose repreesntative Josh Camden delivered the cake and the union members at Dierberg's whose skilled labor created the cake.
Above: Mother Jones with her Bakers Union birthday party cake, 1930.
The biggest thanks goes to Kate Klimut who organized and coordinated the event along with Rosemary Feurer. Thanks to Wildfire Conspiracy for music, Tilley's Restaurant, Josh Camden. Judy Simpson, Jeanne Graham, Margaret Fulkerson, Dave Rathke Jeanne Graham, students from McKendree college and Mt. Olive schools, Juliann Caveny, Trudy and Mike Katchmar, Mike Prehoda, Joanne Condellone, Erik Hostetter, Alderman Derek Sillman. Dale Hawkins brought display items from his collection.