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  • 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.

  • Meeting with Chicago Monuments Committee

    Yesterday we had a heartening meeting with leaders of the Chicago Monuments Committee. Bill Fraher of our committee was also present, but not pictured above. In the last year, the turmoil over statues and representation placed a delay in gaining approval for the location of our Mother Jones Chicago statue. Now there is a new process , in which have to prove our support. You can help us. Our team made the case that 1. The statue presents an opportunity to invite Chicagoans to reevaluate the way they see themselves by recalling this city’s history from below—the history of immigrants, the history of women, the history of labor. 2. Mother Jones speaks to this pandemic moment. Mother Jones, a plague survivor, argued that no one should be left behind. She elevated the role of immigrants, women, African-Americans, and workers from all places and believed that those at the bottom had the potential to transform society. 3. Mother Jones’s story is not only a story of the past, it a story of the present and the future--a global city that should have a symbol of those who build the city from the ground up. 4. The Mother Jones Chicago Statue Committee is composed of Chicagoland residents. 5. We have significant fundraising accomplished, with a wide range of endorses and donors, from construction trades, Irish, women, teachers, service workers. 6. We have 2 talented & committed female artists. (see statue page) They let us know that they were impressed with the coalition we have built to win a prominent location. Our committee was thankful to be joined by Don Villar, secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor. Yesterday, the formal process and website was announced. We are getting closer, folks. Help us. 1) Make your endorsement today. Let the City of Chicago know that you support this project. 2) Donations are a tell-tale sign of support for this project. . Please donate. We appreciate all of our donations so far, that have ranged from $5 to 10,000. Every donation counts. We will be launching the donations and endorsements lists on our page--more to come!

  • Marty Walsh, the Department of Labor Nominee, and Mother Jones

    Marty Walsh, the Mayor of Boston, has been nominated by President-elect Biden for Secretary of Labor. Marty Walsh is a fan of Mother Jones. He is one of a small number since William B. Wilson, the mineworker who was appointed to that office by Woodrow Wilson, who was from the working class. His letter in support of our sister-project in Cork, Ireland, (below) is a testament to that. In late 2013, Ger O'Mahony of the Cork Spirit of Mother Festival asked me for ideas for speakers to bring to the festival. They didn't have much available funding, so I knew I had to find someone with a strong commitment to public history. That was James Green. James Green's work on mine workers and Mother Jones went back to his first major book, Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895--1943. It extended to his work his then not yet published The Devil is Here in these Hills: West Virginia Coal Miners and their Battle for Freedom, which was later turned into the two-hour documentary The Mine Wars. Jim jumped at the opportunity, and even offered to do it at no cost to the festival, if necessary. He reminded me that since his days in Warwick, England studying with the late great E. P. Thompson, (Making of the English Working Class) he had a deep commitment to the History Workshop style connections between past and present. That was exactly what Cork was trying to do. Jim came to the festival in the summer of 2014, and gave one of the keynote talks. It was fabulous, but before he began, he presented this letter on behalf of Marty Walsh: Above: James Green at Shandon during the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork. Photo from https://motherjonescork.com/tag/james-green/ Green had a long relationship with Walsh, because of his labor history trade union education programs at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. At the time Green urged me to write something about the 2014 festival, saying it was a great representation of the kind of commitments he and I shared to public history of labor. I never did, because at the time I was so busy trying to get the Mother Jones Museum going. Jim told me that what Cork was doing was a model for all of us, and better than anything the History Workshop radicals had done in the 1960s and 1970s. Then Jim Green died in 2015; it was a tragic loss to our labor history community. I thought of Jim Green today, and know how excited he would have been at Walsh's nomination. He would be wondering if the spirit of Mother Jones and labor history in general might have a small role in a future Department of Labor agenda. This led me to remember that in 1935, Frances Perkins brought in a bust of Mother Jones to the newly erected Department of Labor building. Amidst discussions of the possibility of new labor law (the Wagner Act) the sculpture, which had been finished in 1923 to great fanfare (I'll do a future story on it) by the famous sculptor, Jo Davidson, was brought to the august entry-ways of the halls of power by Perkins. Frances Perkins had been signally affected by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, and was among the most progressive appointments ever made by Roosevelt, who we must remember, was not very progressive on issues of labor. FDR had threatened to veto the Wagner Act before it was clear that mass unrest and the most progressive Congress in the history of the US would be able to override the veto. Above: Department of Labor staffer Agnes Johnson proudly poses with a bust of Mother Jones. Photograph from our collections. During the administration of Ronald Reagan, the bust went missing. Maybe it was a sign of the times. I tried to track down the bust, and discovered a little of what had happened to it, especially with our board member Saul Schniderman's help. It remains in storage. With the Wagner Act and workers power through the law at an all-time low, we have, through our collective project with Cork, struggled to remember the past and its resonance with the present. We hope Marty Walsh will remember that, too.

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  • Statue Donors | MotherJonesMuseum

    Donors - Chicago Statue Campaign Thanks to all who have donated and endorsed the Mother Jones Chicago statue project. We are half-way there! Add your name today. See our Endorsers Donate to the Statue Campaign Kevin Byrne, Ireland's Consul General to Chicago and the Midwest A Mother Jones statue will stand as a fine testament not only of the contribution that Irish women have made to America but also the great contribution of all immigrant women to this country, a story that often goes untold ​ Donors ​ Mother Jones Legacy ​$10,000 & above ​Government of Ireland Chicago Teachers Union with members match ​Roofers Local 11 Painters District Council 14 ​ History Makers $5000 level ​Bricklayers ADC1 Chicago Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 ​ ​ Fight for the Living $1000 and above ​Ernestina Padilla i n honor of Lotty Blumenthal & Geri Baginski Brigid Duffy Gerace Helen Ramirez-Odell Mary Lou Edwards Anonymous CTU Women's Rights Committee In honor of David J. Rathke United Mine Workers of America ($2000) Illinois Education Association Staff Organization ​ Justice Warrior $500 and above Saul Schniderman Bakers Union Jeanne Graham Hector Arrellano Timothy Gilfoyle Raymond O. Wicklander ​ Sons & Daughters of Mother Jones $250 & above ​ Margaret Fulkerson Coalition of Labor Union Women David Prosten Working Women's History Project Patricia O'Brien Jacqueline Kirley Marcus Rediker Julia Nowicki Helen Elkiss Sheila Durkin Kenny & Becky Osborne Barry Bennett ​ ​Working Class Hero ​$100 & above ​Carl Rosen Blythe and Associates Shari Paul Leah Humes Sue Walton Sandra O'Donnell Zeese Papanikolas John J. Vespo Theresa Boyle Stephen Jones Donald Marcus Taru Spiegel David Johnson Noel Beasley ​Harold Rosenthal Stephen Goldberg Rosemary Trump Virginia Ayers Susan Strauss John Enyeart James Tibensky In memory of Gary Puleio Eileen Durkin Ellen Skerrett Byrne, Brennan and Richards Family Ellen Garza Acknowledging and honoring Chicago's women organizers and activists is crucial to our identity. Jeana Brown Women do because Mother did. Christine George ​Sue Sebesta Christopher and Bernadette Murphy Dan Durkin Michelle Frenette "From a proud Sangamon State Labor Relations program alumni" ​ Trailblazer $50 & above Shannon Zalinski David Jablonsky George & Rhonda Milkowski Kassandra Tsitsopoulos "Long live Mother Jones and female union members!" Norine Gutekanst Michael Savoir Robert Bloch William Hassett Nicholas Bode James Schaudt DB Hunt in honor of Elliott Gorn John Powell Susanne Paradis Ivana Krajcinovic Joanne & August Ricca David Richardson Rita Alfonso LaBarbera Julie Quirin Colleen White John Zurzaw Joan S. Jacobs Phyllis Magee Donald Morris Marion Sirefman Kathleen Carey Bernie Eshoo ​​Grassroots $25.00 & below Judith Dever Phillip Dortsch Jennifer L. Johnson Carlene M. Blumenthal Amanda Scampini Mary Ann Trasciatti anonymous Jerry & Irene Adler Stephanie Cummings Collins Lois Evans * * This donation is by LuLu LoLo whose campaign "Where are the Women? in 2015 highlighted the lack of monuments to women in NYC David Band Robert Stauffer Karl Knobler Patricia A. Wright Robert Lehrer Diane M. Dorsey ​Martin Mikinas Michael Zielinski Louis Wolf Kenneth DeBay Elizabeth Hastings Henry Ooten David Tarlo Ed Pickford Bonnie Shapiro Marissa Koziar Ann F. Hoffman Dr. B Iverson Dean Doberstein Bruce Trigg "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living! " I am honored to support this effort in the memory of this great woman. Stephen Mitchell Deborah Pope Deborah Montgomery Anna Johnson Stuart Walsh Madalyn Kenney Angela Just Endorsements Donors - Amount Undisclosed Elliott Gorn "Because, as Upton Sinclair wrote, ". . .wherever she went, the flame of protest has leaped up in the hearts of men, her story was a veritable ODYSSEY of revolt."

  • Statue Endorsers | MotherJonesMuseum

    Endorsers - Chicago Statue Campaign Thanks to all who have donated & endorsed the Mother Jones Chicago Statue project. We are half-way there! Add your name today. Endorse this campaign Donate to the Statue Campaign Our Endorsers Musicians Women's Unions Irish Political Attorneys Historians Grassroots Rodrick Dixon & Alfreda Burke, World-renowned singers of opera, jazz, gospel “Mother Jones is a great ambassador for our city. Her story rings the bells of freedom, justice, equity and equality for all. . . . Her time has come for this recognition and many in years to come will enjoy learning about her contributions.” Musicians Tom Morello ​Rich Daniels, Music Director, City Lights Orchestra 20th Century Fox TV/Empire/Ordinary Joe Senior Board Member, Chicago Federation of Musicians ​Catherine O'Connell, Irish Singer and Recording Artist ​Rodrick Dixon,Tenor & Alfreda Burke, Soprano World-renowned Singers of Opera, Jazz, and Gospel, ​​Liz Carroll, Irish American Musician Fiddler and Composer Sean P. Ryan, Irish Traditional Musician Katie Grennan, Irish Fiddle and Arts Educator Women’s Organizations Working Women’s History Project American Association University Women, Chicago Branch Coalition of Labor Union Women, Pres. Katie Jordan League of Women Voters, Chicago Branch Chicago Women Take Action Chicago Women in the Trades , Ex. Dir. Jayne Vellinga Chicago Women Take Action, Pres. Caroline Gibbons Coalition of Labor Union Women, Southwestern Pennsylvania On behalf of SWPA CLUW we stand in Solidarity with those that support a statue to recognize Mother Jones, a champion for the working class. We are forever grateful of the sacrifices she made. Her legacy has made every woman leader strive for excellence in the Labor Movement. Chicago Women Take Action, Jackie Grimshaw, Chair Supporting women who make a difference in peoples lives is what we espouse. Recognizing Mother Jones in downtown Chicago would make locals and visitors alike aware of her contribution to those in need. Chicago Women's History Center, Mary Ann A. Johnson, President I whole heartedly endorse the effort to establish a statue in Chicago commemorating the important work and legacy of the fearless agitator for worker's rights, Mother Jones. Recognizing that the representation of women's contributions to Chicago are almost non-existent it is imperative that we immediately begin to correct this glaring omission. A statue honoring Mother Jones, placed in a central location in the city, will be help to elevate the often overlooked but essential histories of women, immigrants, workers, and ethnic groups and their contributions to our city. Organizations Clarence Darrow Commemorative Committee Judy Ancel, Cross Border Network "We need many statues of her across the nation to inspire future Mother Joneses." Pennsylvania Labor History Society Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education, Chicago, Pres. Daniel Lopez Ph.D. “Honoring an immigrant woman who chose to lead a nontraditional life, different from the gender expectations of her day, has a special resonance as we see women continue to make strides and take center stage in the life of the nation. ” Peter Rachleff, East Side Freedom Library, St. Paul, MN The East Side Freedom Library's mission is to inspire solidarity, work for justice, and advocate for equity for all. We see Mother Jones as an icon of this mission, and we are enthusiastic to see a statue. Irish & Irish-American Individuals & Endorsers Ireland's Consulate for Chicago and the Midwest ​Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Festival ​Irish American Heritage Center ​Austin Kelly, Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Committee Mary Pat Kelly Author and Filmmaker Galway Bay , Of Irish Blood , Irish Above All, Proud: the USS Mason, Martin Scorsese: A Journey “Cork-born Mary Harris “Mother” Jones embodied the feminine energy that shaped Ireland generation after generation and remade America. From the Iron Age Queen Maeve through the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley right up to Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, Irish women lead – intrepid, unafraid, there – they stand up for the poor and marginalized. They survive. Mother Jones endured unimaginable personal loss – the death of her husband and three children – and went forth in their names to fight for justice. She chose Chicago as her base and now will be with us forever.” Kathy Cowan, Singer, Teacher, Actor “The world is a better place because of her fortitude, bravery and loving-kindness. Mother Jones deserves to be recognized by the city of Chicago with a statue. Thank you.” Therese M. Boyle, retired school psychologist Rev. Tom Hurley Pastor, Old St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago, IL Jim Houlihan, retired Cook County official Unions ​ United Mine Workers of America, Cecil Roberts President Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA ​Chicago Teachers Union #1, Pres Jessie Sharkey, VP Stacy Davis Gates United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers #11, Gary Menzel, Pres/ Business Manager: "Bringing a statue of a champion of labor to the City of Broad Shoulders is only fitting in the 21st. century. To have a statue of Mother Jones who was a voice for labor attached to the city of Chicago would let everyone know that Chicago was built by the working class." Bakery, Confectionary Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, Antony L. Shelton, Pres. Illinois Education Association, Pres. Kathy Griffin ​International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Council #1, Pres James Allen ​Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council ​​Laborers International of North America, Pres. Terence O’Sullivan ​Painters District Council #1, Pres James Spiros ​Plumbers Local 130, Pres James Coyne ​International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, Pres Don Finn ​International Union of Operating Engineers #150 ​United Auto Workers Region 4, Ronald D. McInroy, Director ​​United Steelworkers Sub-district 1, Director Anthony Alfano ​Teamsters Joint Council 25, Pres. Terrence Hancock ​The Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208, Pres. Terry Jares ​Service Employees International Union Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS, Pres Greg Kelley ​Sheet Metal Workers Local 73, Raymond Suggs, Pres & Bus. Mgr ​Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices Union Local no. 281, Bus. Mgr Thomas M. Collins Carl Rosen, United Electrical, Radio, Machine Workers Mother Jones is more than overdue for recognition by the City of Chicago. A prominent monument for her is an important part of telling the history of the working class, the labor movement and women in Chicago. Political Leaders Alderman Brendan Reilly, 1st ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th Ward Alderman Matt O'Shea, 19th ward Alderman Michael D. Rodriguez, 22nd Ward ​Alderman Samantha Nugent , 39th ward ​​Alderman Andre Vazquez, 40th ward ​Alderman Matt Martin, 47th ward State Representative Lindsay LaPoint , 19th district Senator Antonio Munoz, 1st district, Assistant Senate Majority John Cullerton, Retired Illinois State Senate President Attorneys ​ Thomas Geoghegan, Depres, Schwartz and Geoghegan, Ltd. Anne Davis Michael Schorsch, Esq. Robert E. Lehrer Law Offices, Robert E. Lahrer Al Domanskis Boodell and Domanskis, LLC John Moran The Moran Group Susan G. Feibus Law Offices of Susan G. Feibus Julia Nowicki Judge (ret) Cook County Circuit Court Robert Cohen Patrick E. Deady Hogan and Marren Ltd. Stephen B. Goldberg Northwestern School of Law Dan Morrissey Mike Kralovec Susan Gzesh, Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnik and Dym Tom Allison Allison, Slutsky, and Kennedy, ret. Joseph E. Tilson, Esq. F. Thomas Hecht Matt Martin, Alderman, 47th ward Thomas Anthony Durkin, Durkin & Roberts Denise DeBelle, Law Offices of Denise M. DeBelle Sign the attorneys' endorsement Endorsements Historians David Roediger, University of Kansas Eric Foner, Columbia University Michelle Nickerson, Loyola University Chicago Tim Gilfoyle, Loyola University Chicago Timothy Spears, Middlebury College Susan Schulten, University of Denver Robert Orsi, Northwestern University Carl Smith, Northwestern University Alessandro Portelli, University of Rome La Sapienza Zeese Papanicolas, San Francisco Art Institute Patrick Miller Northeastern Illinois University Bruce Levine, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana "A crucial figure in the history of Illinois and working people nationally. " Brad Hunt, Loyola University Chicago Lynn Dumenil, Occidental College Susan Ware, General Editor, Dictionary of American Biography Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University Kevin Boyle, Northwestern University Fred Hoxie, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Laura Edwards, Princeton University Marcus Rediker, Univerty of Pittsburgh James Barrett, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Julie Greene, University of Maryland Norman S. Cohen, Occidental College Sheyda Jahanbani, University of Kansas Thomas Jundt, Collegiate Prep School, NYC Sean Dinces, Long Beach Community College Will Jones, University of Minnesota Dana Rabin, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Emily E. LB. Twarog, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Erik McDuffie, History and Af-Am Studies, U of Illinois Michael D. Innis-Jimenez, University of Alabama Robert D. Johnston, University of Illinois, Chicago Tikia K. Hamilton, Loyola University Chicago Erik Gellman, University of North Carolina John D’Emilio, University of Illinois, Chicago Jeffrey Helgeson, Texas State University Kevin M. Schulz, University of Illinois, Chicago Daniel Graff, University of Notre Dame Brad Hunt, Loyola University Chicago Joseph Bigott, Purdue University Northwest Rosemary Feurer, Northern Illinois University Steven K Ashby, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Elizabeth S. Todd-Breland, University of Illinois, Chicago Nancy Maclean, Duke University Antoinette M. Burton, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Gabe Winant, University of Chicago Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College Jonathan Levy, University of Chicago Amy Dru Stanley, University of Chicago Peter Cole, Western Illinois University Marcia Walker-McWilliams, UChicago, Black Metropolis Consortium Dominic Pacyga, Columbia College Ellen Skerrett, Independent Scholar Suellen Hoy, Notre Dame University Walter T.K. Nugent, Notre Dame University Bill Savage, Northwestern University Erin McCarthy, Columbia College Carlo Rotella, Boston College Ann Keating, North Central College William Sites, University of Chicago Elliott Gorn, Loyola University Chicago Kathryn Oberdeck, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago David Bates, Concordia University, Chicago Ted Karamanski, Loyola University Chicago Gema Santamaria, Loyola University Chicago Benjamin Johnson, Loyola University Chicago Susan Hirsch, Loyola University Chicago Lewis Erenberg, Loyola University Chicago Robert Bucholz, Loyola University Chicago Tanya Stabler, Loyola University Chicago Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Loyola University Chicago Andrew Wilson, Loyola University Chicago Patricia Mooney-Melvin, Loyola University Chicago Amy Tyson, DePaul University Tobias Higbie, University of California Los Angeles, Coleen Doody, DePaul University Miles Harvey, DePaul University Rene Luis Alverez, Loyola University Chicago John Donoghue, Loyola University Chicago Deborah Cohen, Northwestern University Trude Jacobsen, Northern Illinois University E. Taylor Atkins, Northern Illinois University Kristin Huffine, Northern Illinois University Beatrix Hoffman, Northern Illinois University Sean Farrell, Northern Illinois University Brian Sandberg, Northern Illinois University Valerie Garver, Northern Illinois University Damian Fernandez, Northern Illinois University Eric Mogren, Northern Illinois University James D. Schmidt, Northern Illinois University Aaron Fogelman, Northern Illinois University Andy Bruno, Northern Illinois University Sarah Frohardt-Lane, Ripon College Nick Juravich, University of Massachusetts, Boston Edin Hajdarpasic, Loyola University Chicago Alice Weinreb, Loyola University Chicago Aidan Forth, MacEwan University Michael Honey, University of Washington, Tacoma Natalie Joy, Northern Illinois University Emma Kuby, Northern Illinois University John French, Duke University Michael Botson, Houston Community College Benjamin Sorensen, Cape Fear Community College Mother Jones deserves a statue in her honor, as she was seminal in organizing for worker power and labor rights. This woman "mourn[ed] for the dead, but [fought] like hell for the living! Colleen O'Neill, Utah State University Thomas L. Dublin, State University of New York at Binghamton Cecelia Bucki Fairfield University, CT Greg Hall, Western Illinois University Lou Martin, Chatham University Mother Jones was one of the strongest voices for working people in the early 20th century. By speaking truth to power and standing with workers in the darkest hours, she was an inspiration to many thousands across the country. Lilia Fernandez, Rutgers University Lara Vapnek, St. John's University Ken Fones-Wolf, West Virginia University Holger Droessler, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Chris Wright, City University of New York Eric Fure-Slocum, St. Olaf College Robyn Muncy, University of Maryland Joe Berry, College of San Francisco Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan Gordon Mantler, George Washington University Lorenzo Costaguta, University of Bristol Elizabeth McKilen, University of Maine Jim Beauchesne, Lawrence Heritage State Park Caroline Waldron, University of Dayton David Witwer, Penn State University Nathan Godfried, Univeristy of Maine Anthonio Ramirez, Elgin Community College Mary Ann Trasciatti, Hofstra University Sam Mitrani, College of DuPage Kristoffer Smemo, Washington University Patrick Dixon, Georgetown University Shelton Stromquist, University of Iowa Laurie Mercier, Vancouver Washington We need more public memorials documenting America's labor history! John McKerley, University of Iowa Nancy Quam Wickham California State University-Long Beach Alan Derickson, Penn State Joshua B. Freeman, Queens College and Graduate Center Darryl Heller, Indiana University-South Bend Ryan Dearinger, Eastern Oregon University-LaGrande Daniel Gilbert, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Nancy Quam-Wickham, California State University Brian Kelly, Queen’s University Belfast Ben Whisenhunt, College of DuPage Peter Rachleff, East Side Freedom Library, St. Paul, Minnesota James Young, Edinboro University David Brody, University of California-Davis Ian Rocksborough-Smith, History, University of the Fraser Valley Brian Greenberg, Monmouth University Lois Rita Helmbold, San Jose State University Daniel Clark, Oakland University-Ann Arbor, Michigan Jason Resnikoff, Columbia University Liesl Orenic, Dominican University-Chicago Dana Frank, University of California-Santa Cruz Christopher Phelps, University of Nottingham Dave Kamper, New Brookwood Labor College Di Kelly, University of Wollongong, Australia "Even in Australia, we respect the wonderful achievements, and believe a Mother Jones statue is a signal of respect. " Ian Rocksborough-Smith, University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia’ Naomi R Williams, Rutgers University Fred Glass, City College of San Francisco Working people deserve to know their history and their heroes. A public monument to Mother Jones would help fill in that gap. Nancy Gabin, Purdue University Francis Shor, Wayne State University Michael Dennis, Acadia University, Nova Scotia Greg Geddes, SUNY Orange County Community College Aimee Loiselle, Smith College Mother Jones was a dedicated organizer, inspiring speaker, and brilliant strategist who established a potent public presence. Jennifer Sherer, University of Iowa Robert Forrant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Carol Quirke, SUNY Old Westbury Tula Connell, Independent Scholar, Washington D. C. Cindy Hahamovitch, University of Georgia-Athens Karen Miller, CUNY LaGuardia David Brundage, University of California Santa Cruz Joseph A. McCartin, Georgetown University Julia Smith, University of Manitoba-Winnipeg Paul C. Mishler, Indiana University-South Bend Cathy Brigden, RMIT University, Victoria, Australia Ron Schatz, Wesleyan University Eileen Boris, University of California-Santa Barbera "A long held dream for honoring women and workers!" Al Campbell, University of Utah Francis Ryan, Rutgers University Seth Widgerson, University of Maine-Augusta Ron Lind, San Jose City College Grace Reinke, University of Washington-Seattle David Dennis, Loyola University Chicago Juanita Del Toro, Harold Washington College David Zonderman, North Carolina State University "A figure in American and labor history well worth honoring with a statue" Mark Lause, University of Cincinnati Jack Metzgar, Roosevelt University Carl Weinberg, Indiana University Sean Carleton, University of Manitoba Jillian Marie Jacklin, University of Wisconsin -Green Bay Brian Leech, Augustana College Jeff Schuhrke, University of Illinois at Chicago David Hamilton Golland, Governors State University Jay Winston Driskell, Historical Research and Consulting Michael Goldfield Wayne State University Trish Kahle, Georgetown University Qatar Sharon McConnell-Sidorick, Independent Scholar Dan Sidorick, Rutgers University Eileen Eagan, University of Southern Maine Matthew Simmons, University of South Florida David Marquis, College of William & Mary Tami J. Friedman, Brock University Ellie Walsh, Governors State University Pat Reeve, Suffolk University Sign the historians' endorsement I've heard of Mother Jones forever, but only recently learned what an amazing woman and organizer she was... and especially given the lack of statues of important females in Chicago -- I believe she will be a wonderful addition. The proposed location downtown, near her old sewing shop, would be a great choice!! - -Marian Sirefman, Oak Park, IL -statue donor As a native of Chicago I value the rich tradition of labor struggles in the city's history and think a statue to the best known and most revered woman in U.S. labor history can only enhance Chicago and the pride workers and especially women workers feel to be a part of the labor community of Chicago and Illinois. --Judy Ancel, Cross-Border Network Grassroots Judie Moore Green, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Susan C. Flashman, Pres Maryland/DC Alliance for Retired Americans MicheleDuster, Ph.D. author and champion of racial and gender equity; Great-Granddaughter Ida B. Wells Katie Jordan, Illinois Labor History Society and Coalition of Labor Union Women Jacquelyn Kirley, Working Women's History Project We need to have visual support for Chicago's labor background and the women who fought for it. Keith Kelliher, retired president, SEIU Helen Ramirez-Odell, retired teacher, CTU Kassandra Tsitsopoulos We desperately need more statues of women in the city of Chicago. Mother Jones was a tireless fighter for workers of all ages to push for better working conditions. Chicago is a union town and needs to uplift these types of voices. Colleen White, Kansas City Missouri I grew up in Chicago and was always amazed at the statues in the City. However, the City is sadly lacking a statute that remembers a strident advocate for the downtrodden and working folks. I would appreciate your support of placing a statute of Mother Jones, who is a figure that represents these downtrodden and working folks, in the City. Plus I am as Irish as many Chicagoans, and it would be nice to see our heritage represented. Thank you. Julie Quirin, IEASO Mother Jones will be an excellent addition to downtown Chicago! Let Mother stand for all of Illinois! Patrick Murfin, Tree of Life UU Congregation Social Justice Team I am a former General Secretary-Treasurer and newspaper editor for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) which Mother Jones helped found. As an amateur labor historian and active blogger (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout) I have written extensively about Mary Harris Jones and her essential role in the American labor movement. I am also a social justice activist for more than fifty years. No one is better deserving of a memorial statue than “the most dangerous woman alive.” Ellen C. Garza, Chicago IL Susan Ridgeway, Canton Ohio No one deserves this memorial more than Mary Harris. May her memory be an example for us all. James Tibensky, Wayne, IL Mother Jones was an important force in the drive to make unions a reality for American workers. She had deep Chicago roots. A statue of her in Chicago would be a great recognition of her impact and that of labor unions everywhere. We are a proud union family and urge the City of Chicago to erect a statue of Mother Mary Jones. John Risch, North Dakota She was the most courageous labor leader in American history. Nancy Keiser, Utah Donald A. Daeke, M.D. The labor movement is of critical importance and is well commemorated by Mother Jones' remembrance. Jeff Fites, Michigan This remarkable woman epidomises the strength of our nation and the respect for working women and men for which the city of Chicago is known. In honoring Mother Jones, the "City of Big Shoulders" elevates the dignity and values of fair wages, safe working conditions and respect for working people, whose big shoulders built this country we love. John Zurzaw, Oak Park, IL Margaret Burk, An important tribute to a woman who fought for justice for all people. William Arnold, Alaska Mother Jones was an inspiration to very many Americans (and others) as she kept the hope of E Pluribus Unum alive. Julia McSweeney, Retired CTU member /South Side Irish Parade Committee Member ​Carol Levine, Chicago Women Take Action Chicagoans will be inspired by learning about the work of Mother Jones. Anton Savoir, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, Kansas City, Missouri The recognition of labor's history and struggles is mandatory for labors growth and development. I am reminded that a people who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it. We must do all that is possible to build an active and viable labor movement. Michael Sacco, IBEW Local 21 A necessary addition to our great city's important working class history. Peter Kuttner, IATSE Local 600 Chicago is a city of working people, the kind of people Mother Jones served so well. Kathleen Wiegert, Chicago, Illinois Mother Jones changed lives and helped all of us understand the importance of standing up for social justice. Tim Tuten, The Hideout Mother Jones epitomizes the Chicago Spirit. She survived The Chicago Fire of 1871, to come out even more empathetic and stronger for the working people. Her statute should be centrally located and prominent for all too see and be inspired by! My only request is that it be built twice as tall! Mike Thomas, Chicago IL I whole heartedly endorse the placing of the Mother Jones statue at Wacker and Michigan. Sarah Rothschild, Chicago IL Mother Jones is such an important piece of Chicago's and the nation's labor history! Bruce Tigg, New York, NY Jerry Delaney, Oak Park, IL Recognition of the justice work of Mother Jones is long overdue! I’m grateful for the hard work of this group to bring this important recognition! My Mayo great-grandfather contracted black-lung disease working as a stoker in Chester, PA. I'm thrilled that this statue will honor Mother Jones for her strength and for her commitment to better the lives of coal miners and countless other workers.-- Eileen Durkin, statue donor The recognition of an immigrant who did so much to extend rights to laboring men and women would acknowledge the importance of immigrants to the development of the city and highlight the role that women have played in securing social justice. Leonard Ramirez, Ph.D.Northeastern University

  • Mother Jones | Mother Jones Museum | United States

    Learn More Who was Mother Jones? When Mother Jones was mocked as the “grandmother of all agitators,” in the U.S. Senate, she replied that she would someday like to be called “the great-grandmother of all agitators.” Born Mary Harris in Cork Ireland in 1837, she was an immigrant refugee who lost her entire family in a pandemic, then lost everything in the Chicago Fire of 1871. ​ ​ She became a rebel for justice, and became known simply as "Mother Jones," the mother of the working class. An icon of labor history, she organized against child labor, for workers rights, and helped to shape a spirit of civil disobedience in the cause of justice. Mother Jones believed that a workers movement would replace “this moneyed civilization with a higher and grander civilization for the ages to come.” To learn more, including a short documentary about her, see : Who was Mother Jones? Chicago Mother Jones Statue Campaign Statue Campaign Recent Blogs Mother Jones 100th Birthday Party, 1930 Write a comment Meeting with Chicago Monuments Committee Write a comment 1 Marty Walsh, the Department of Labor Nominee, and Mother Jones Write a comment Mother Jones Died 90 years ago Write a comment #StrikeforOurLivesUIC: Mother Jones on the Line with SEIU 73 & Illinois Nurses Association Write a comment Lindsay Hand's Art Brings Fannie Sellins Spirit to Life Write a comment 1

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