She was a diminutive woman with a soft voice. But she raised it effectively to lead campaigns for workers, especially miners and child labor. She was called "Mother Jones" because of her sweet grandmotherly appearance.
Mother Jones did not start her activism until she was fifty years old. She organized a "Children's March" to the home of Theodore Roosevelt. The children carried banners proclaiming, "We want to go to school." At the time many young children worked long hours in mills and mines with little regard to their safety and no regard to their education.
Mother Jones was fined and even jailed on occasion but she persevered. When someone introduced her as a humanitarian she said she was actually a "hell-raiser."
And a hell-raiser she was. Mother Jones helped establish unions for women, especially shirt waist workers, domestics, and silk weavers. If you are not familiar with this crusader, I strongly recommend that you do a little research into her life and times. It is only fitting that we honor her on this Labor Day.
A women with many impressive quotes, my favorite is her motto; "Pray for the dead and work like Hell for the living."
As we go about enjoying our holiday picnics and barbecues, think of the real reason we set aside this day.