• Rosemary Feurer

I-55 Northbound Marker & Indoor Exhibit dedicated

Mother Jones I-55 coalfield rest area marker, indoor exhibit on march to springfield, virtual tour of the Mother Jones Monument, Union Miners cemetery.  Don’t miss the photos and graphics– dedicated December 11, 2018


Above: Photo by Beth Kruse . The sun shone down on a glorious day for the unveiling of the new marker and indoor historical exhibit. Marker text by Elliott Gorn with assist by Rosemary Feurer, photo suggestion by Elliott Gorn. Design by Kate Klimut. Additional logistical support and committee work by David J. Rathke, Terry Reed, Jim Dixon, Stephanie Seawell Fortado




Above: Cecil Roberts, President of United Mine Workers of America, cutting the ribbon for the marker.



Above: Dedication of Mother Jones marker at I-55 Southbound Coalfield Rest Area. Over 70 people from around the state of Illinois as well as Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana, celebrated this wonderful moment. We all repeated “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!” as the ribbon was cut by Cecil Roberts, President, United Mine Workers officiated. Thanks to everyone who attended. Michael Matejka photograph.




Part of the crowd at I-55 Coalfield dedication

Very grateful to Shane Austin and his group of apprentices/journeyman from Iron Worker Local 46 Springfield Illinois for installing our new historical marker at Northbound I-55 coalfield rest area, which is now ready for ribbon cutting. Thanks Shane Austin, Apprentice Kyle Spooner, Bryar Jennings, Sandra Miller,Journeyman Edward Ray Sandra Miller, by the way, is a former mine worker!


Installation of southbound marker by Shane Austin Business Manager of Iron Workers Local 46 and crew Kyle Spooner, Apprentice Bryan Jennings, Apprentice Sandra Miller (former mine worker), Journeyman Edward Ray. Photo by Dave Rathke.


Below: Cecil Roberts speaking at the dedication about Mother Jones


Below: Erik Hostettler of United Staff Union of Illinois, on the importance of trade unions remembering their past:


We Were Not Ladies, We Were Women indoor exhibit: After visitors encounter the large outdoor marker on I-55, they will be able to understand Mother Jones’ long legacy, and the activism of coalfield women with this exhibit. Team for indoor exhibit: Rosemary Feurer, Elliott Gorn, Stephanie Seawell Fortado, Greg Boozell, Sophia Varcados (NIU creative services), Kate Klimut, Ace Sign-Springfield

Sean Burns' great-aunt Agnes Burns Wieck led the march to Springfield illustrated in the indoor marker. He spoke about how proud he is that her memory is imprinted in the exhibit.

Elliott Gorn on the importance of remembering Mother Jones and her spirit. The quilt in the background was given to Agnes Burns Wieck, leader of the march to Springfield, by fellow members of the Women's auxiliary.

Jack Dyer of the Mother Jones Foundation spoke with greetings and a short history of what the Foundation has done to keep the memory of Mother Jones active in the central Illinois area and to connect past and present. Thanks Jack and the Mother Jones Foundation for the contribution to the marker, and to keeping the faith all these years!


Cecil Roberts honors the poeple who made the marker.

Jim Dixon spoke on behalf of Springfield & Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council, which helped fund the marker and exhibit, and reminded us how necessary it is to have women lead and the spirit of Mother Jones. The new president of Springfield’s Trades and Labor is Diana Carlile , but she was out of town. Thanks Jim Dixon for your support and sentiments. Photo by Mike Matejka.


Judy Simpson spoke on behalf of the Illinois Labor History Society, which helped to fund the marker. She discussed the ILHS’ mission, to preserve and promote labor history, and expressed continued commitment to that mutual goal. Judy is also a representative of Laborers Local 773 and a board member of the Mother Jones Heritage Project.\



Stu Fliege of the Illinois State Historical Society assured us that the markers change culture and build empathy for their subjects. This is one of 400 ISHS Markers We now have 2 that do that well as profile a major national historical figure. Photo by Mike Matejka,

Rosemary Feurer told the group that the next step for the exhibit was to link it to an interactive story-board tour for locations in the area. She distributed materials that will be profiled on the tour, including this amazing sketch by Bill Yund. More on this soon!


Elliott Gorn and Cecil Roberts after the ribbon cutting. Elliott Gorn, author of Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman .Photo by Mike Matejka.

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