December 4, 2009
Remembering labor’s greatest champion
Monday, November 30 was the 79th anniversary of the death of the great Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Thanks to Con Carbon for sharing this with us, a remembrance of Mother by Saul Schniderman, president of AFSCME Local 2910 at the Library of Congress:
Irish-born Mother Jones was one of the most well-known women of the 20th century. She was called “the Joan of Arc of the Labor Movement,” “the Miners’ Angel,” “the Most Dangerous Woman in America” and, in her later years, the “Grand Old Champion of Labor.” Throughout her long life she spread the gospel of unionism, organizing workers throughout the country, often sleeping in union halls or on the floor of a coal miner’s home. She once told a congressional committee, “my address is like my shoes, it travels with me. I abide where there is fight against slavery.”
In 1910 Mother Jones said, “Some day we will have the courage to rise up and strike back against these great ‘giants’ of industry, and then we will see that they weren’t giants at all — they only seemed so because we were on our knees and they towered over us.” If she were alive today, Mother Jones would challenge us to protest against today’s corporate giants who exploit us at work, pollute our environment and teach our children that the most important thing in life is what you look like and how much money you own.
If she were alive today, Mother Jones would urge us to speak out, to organize and to “raise some hell.”
Let’s not disappoint her.
Read the full post about how Mother Jones spent the last years of her life and how she is memorialized today in Adelphia, MD at the Chicago Women’s
Liberation Union web site.