We've been waiting to announce this officially for too long. Our statue/sculpture of Mother Jones will be placed at Chicago's historic Water Tower. There have some negotiations and some wrinkles . But we did it, indeed.
Chicago's Water Tower is the most iconic old Chicago site in the city, and one of the most visited. Yet the park around it is small, intimate. This sculpture will signal that Chicago is a union town, that immigrants and working class built the city, and that we are part of a tradition of struggle.
It's taken us a long time to get here. We started fundraising with only a proposed location, and you had faith that we would come through. We accomplished this by organizing.
The protests over statues and memorials in the city put new policies into place through the Chicago Monuments Project. We had to revise our tentative agreements with the city. One element was agreeing to a new vetting process for artists to submit proposals.
Our new schedule calls for the final artistic renditions to be completed by this summer. After that, it will be just a short time.
The official name of the project is Mother Jones "We Shall Rise". The completion of the project will be a joint effort of the MJHP and the Chicago Monuments Project.
We will never forget that you donated without a definite location. Keep the faith, we said.
We need your help to fulfill our fundraising targets. We still have a ways to go. The time to donate is now!
The Water Tower and Mother Jones
The Water Tower survived the Great Chicago Fire, just like Mother Jones. The tower was being built when Mother Jones returned to Chicago after she lost her husband and children to yellow fever. After the Great Fire of 1871, Mother Jones found a new purpose by becoming part of Chicago’s multi-ethnic immigrant-based labor movement. The site is still a place that protests are launched.
When asked how she came to identify as an agitator against the conditions of the poor and oppressed workers, she replied “I first began to think of it after the Great Fire of Chicago, when I saw all the relief which had been sent the distressed did not reach the source for which it was meant.” She began to read, think and act. By 1900, she was widely known as Mother Jones, a fearless labor organizer. But Chicago remained her base all the way up until the year she died, when she hoped to return there to be honored by working class Chicagoans.
The sculpture will now represent labor history, women’s history, the history of immigrants, and the long struggle of people before profit. It will be the first sculpture of Mother Jones. It's long overdue, we say.