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  • Mother Jones fans at Paradise Square Opening Night

    We were honored to be invited by the Chicago Ireland Consulate for a special opening night of Paradise Square at Nederlander Theater in Chicago. The play is about the Five Points Neighborhood in New York City in the Civil War, a story of interracial solidarity between African-Americans and Irish immigrants, torn about by the draft riots. This musical is headed to Broadway, see it before it leaves Chicago! Several Mother Jones Heritage Project board members and statue committee members were there, including, David Rathke, Stephanie Seawall Fortado, Deborah Cosey-Lane, Dolores Connolly, Emily LaBarbera Twarog. Afterwards some of us met at Emerald Loop as special invitees of Chicago consulate for after-play party! Great to talk up the exciting developments about our statue, new markers, new exhibits coming in the future with the creator and co-playwright, Larry Kirwin, who immigrated to the US in the 1970s and founder of the Gaelic-American rock band, Black 47. Larry has agreed to help us develop a short skit of Mother Jones meeting with Irish labor legend James Larkin (with the hope we can persuade Ireland’s ambassador Daniel Mulhall to play Larkin! Photos below by David Rathke and Deborah Cosey-Lane

  • Chicago Federation of Labor Endorses Statue Campaign

    From the beginning of our campaign for a Chicago Statue, we have had advice and support from officers of the Chicago Federation of Labor. Now they have passed a very strong resolution of support, highlighting the history of Mother Jones and the relationship. They call for affiliates to donate to the campaign. We thank Don Villar, secretary-treasurer of the CFL, for his work and sharing this resolution. Chicago Federation of Labor Mother Jones Statue Resolution WHEREAS, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837-1930) was an Irish refugee from Cork fleeing the Great Famine who became a teacher, married a union iron molder, lost her husband and all four children to yellow fever in 1867, and then opened a dress shop which was destroyed along with her home in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; WHEREAS, out of these tragedies Jones found a new family in the emerging Chicago labor movement, joined the Knights of Labor, became an organizer for the American Railway Union around the struggle at Pullman, campaigned for the Socialist Party and organized for the United Mine Workers, such that by 1900, she was universally known as the “Mother of the Labor Movement,” defender of working families and enemy of child labor; WHEREAS, Mother Jones organized workers across all racial and ethnic lines during a period of extreme racism and bigotry, believing from her own experiences that poverty and the lack of choices were the same for all working class people, men and women, black and white, immigrant and native born, preaching to workers that through solidarity they held their fate in their own hands; WHEREAS, the Chicago Federation of Labor longstanding and deep connection to Mother Jones’ work and President John Fitzpatrick was one of her closest friends and confidants; WHEREAS, Mother Jones often lovingly referred to President Fitzgerald and Secretary Ed Nockels as “the boys,” joining with the CFL leaders in countless strikes, fights, and power struggles; WHEREAS, after her passing, President Fitzpatrick served as the executor of her will, Secretary Nockels arranged her funeral, and WCFL broadcast the proceedings to the world; WHEREAS, a district attorney said at her trial for ignoring an injunction banning meetings by striking miners in 1902, “There sits the most dangerous woman in America. She comes into a state where peace and prosperity reign…crooks her finger and twenty thousand contented men lay down their tools and walk out;” WHEREAS, attorney and ACLU leader Clarence Darrow wrote: “In all her career, Mother Jones never quailed or ran away. Her deep convictions and fearless soul always drew her to seek the spot where the fight was hottest and the danger greatest;” WHEREAS, the Mother Jones Heritage Project has a campaign to erect a statue in the City of Chicago of Mother Jones, one of the most famous women of the early 20th century and a labor icon to workers everywhere; WHEREAS, a statue of Mother Jones in Chicago would remind us that workers built this city, would begin to rectify the absence of statues of women, and would tell the world that Chicago has always been a city of immigrants; WHEREAS, Chicago has few if any outdoor statues to honor women’s contributions to history; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Chicago Federation of Labor endorses the Mother Jones Statue Campaign and urges the City of Chicago to approve the proposed site and project to erect this Statue and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chicago Federation of Labor urges its members and affiliates to donate to support this work, raise awareness of Mother Jones’ vital contributions to labor and women’s history in their own ranks and participate in activities to bring it to fruition. Adopted by CFL Executive Board on May 3, 2021 Accepted and passed by CFL Delegates May 4, 2021 Don V. Villar, Chicago Federation of Labor, Secretary Treasurer

  • Mother Jones 100th Birthday Party, 1930

    The telegrams came in by the hundreds on May 1, 1930, to the remote Burgess farmhouse in Maryland, where Mother Jones lived out her final days. Almost none have survived. One that does is from John Fitzpatrick, the head of the Chicago Federation of Labor. Courtesy Saul Schniderman "The hundreds of thousands of trade unionists affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor through its officers sends greetings to you on this the hunredth anniversary of your birthday coupled wit the sincere hope that the labor movement in general and Chicago in particular may enjoy your inspirational spirit for another century of still greater progress," Fitzpatrick wrote. In her response, she thanked him for their many years of comradeship, and signed her letter, "Yours for justice." Mother Jones had claimed May Day as her birthday, no doubt reveling in her own little mission to keep the memory of the day alive. Indeed, she felt she had been reborn to what she referred to as “a happy life” in the struggle. This was not the first time John Fitzpatrick had sent Jones a telegram for her birthday. Another that survives is the one he sent to her in Mexico in 1921, when she was being feted for her support of the Mexican Revolution. She responded to Fitzpatrick by noting the connections with Chicago's labor heroes in the strong workers movement in the town of Orizaba, a manufacturing city. There, she noted, the workers displayed a banner of the Chicago Haymarket martyrs, giving it equal footing to the new national banner. Had such a banner been displayed in Chicago, she said, “every one of them would have been put in jail.” Notably, the "tribute paid to that banner as it entered that hall was the most remarkable demonstration I had witnessed in all my years in the industrial conflict,” and more remarkable was the absence of police at a large meeting, given their regular presence at labor demonstrations in the U.S. The celebration for her 100th in 1930 was originally planned for Chicago, and it was going to be the biggest birthday party ever held in the city. But pneumonia struck before the celebration and made a trip impossible. So instead, Fitzpatrick sent Secretary-Treasurer Ed Nockles as the official representative to the Burgess Farm. (You can learn about that celebration here.) Mother Jones likely did not know who would make it to the remote farmhouse, especially in the wake of the economic panic and hard times. She and her caregiver, Lilian Burgess, were stunned themselves with the deluge, as hundreds of people did arrive in addition to telegrams. The newsreel cameras turned on, but until I produced the short film on Mother Jones in 2007, no biographer had access to the full statement that survived in the long interview. “You know, I’ve been called a Bolshevik, a red, a radical, an IWW, and I admit to being all they’ve charged me with. I’m ANYTHING that would change this moneyed civilization into a higher and grander civilization for the ages to come. And I long to see the day when Labor has the destination of the nation in her own hands, and she will stand a united force, and show the world what the workers can do.” That was a statement curated for May Day, still so relevant for our time. For her it harkened to a trail of spilled blood and high ambition for the future, just as Fitzpatrick's telegram suggested that she was a touchstone for Chicago. In true form, Mother Jones greeted the the unemployed army of young and old, Black and white who came for her birthday with equal accord to the labor and government officials. such as head of the American Federation of Labor According to Mrs. Burgess, Mother Jones was fine with letting the dignitaries wait in line as she greeted these unemployed workers who had walked all the way from an unemployed conference in Washington, D.C.

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  • Statue Campaign | MotherJonesMuseum

    Mother Jones Chicago Statue Campaign Why a Mother Jones Statue Donate to the Statue Campaign Meet our Team Why A Mother Jones Chicago Statue ​The government of Ireland seeded this project with $36,000 grant. We need to raise a total of $200,000. Please give generously. We have applied for locations on Wacker, near Michigan, but have not officially been granted a permit. We have support from Alderman Brendan Reilly for this project. Imagine, "Let's meet at the Mother Jones statue!" There are hardly any sculptures of women historical figures in the city of Chicago. Let's put this iconic Irish immigrant refugee and founder of the American labor movement--the Mother of the working class--on a statue in the city she called home. Make a Tax Deductible Donation to the Statue Campaign We are a 501-c-3, so your donation is charitable. ​ Target amount: $200,000 Donation Form send checks to: Mother Jones Statue Fund, Wintrust Bank, 4343 W. Peterson Avenue, Chicago IL 60646 DONATE Meet our Donors Complete Endorser and Donor List Checks: Mother Jones Statue Fund, Wintrust Bank, 4343 W. Peterson Avenue, Chicago IL 60646 ​ Checks with correspondence: send to Mother Jones Statue Fund, 630 Joanne Lane, DeKalb, Illinois, 60115. Meet our Sculptors Meet our sculptors, Kathleen Farrell and Kathleen Scarboro, whose work will convey the power of Mother Jones. Learn about their approach and past projects. Out of gallery Meet our Honorary Co-Chairs Daniel Mulhall, Ireland's Ambassador to the United States Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America Sarah Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Terry O'Sullivan, Laborers' International of North America ​ Out of gallery Meet our Statue Committee Members Out of gallery

  • I-55 Coalfield Rest Area SB | MotherJonesMuseum

    Coalfield Rest Area, I-55 Southbound Sites & Stories / Exhibits / Coalfield Rest Area We placed this major marker at the Coalfield Rest Area in December 2017. It profiles Mother Jones and the history of Illinois Miners. See the website/free app from Vamonde for more details. It includes performance, photos and documentary materials. Below that, check out the dedication photos . Out of gallery

  • Donate | MotherJonesMuseum

    Donate to the Mother Jones Heritage Project Support our Projects with a tax-deductible donation. We are a 501-c-3 non-profit. Donate to the Mother Jones Chicago Statue Campaign Target Amount: $200,000 Donate to the Mother Jones Heritage Project Target Amount: $8,000 for St. Louis Exhibit/Marker on Fannie Sellins/Mother Jones Checks: Mother Jones Heritage Project, 630 Joanne Lane, DeKalb, IL 60115 Checks: Mother Jones Statue Fund, Wintrust Bank, 4343 W. Peterson Avenue, Chicago IL 60646

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