LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Friend to all Workers

Annually, since the first Labor Day on September 5, 1882, Americans have honored the working people of our nation. There are countless heroes of the labor movement, but few more outstanding than Mary Harris Jones.

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.

15 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Great post! We need hell raisers like Mother Jones in our culture. We need more women in our society to be recognized for their contributions. Thanks for putting the spotlight on her for your Labor Day post. -- barbara

Karin said...

Thanks - didn't know some of this and will Google for more info!

Nance said...

Here's to Mother Jones, who made the world a better place. Wonder what she would have had to say if she'd stood beside Trumka in Alaska recently?

Good for you, friend!

The Bug said...

That Mother Jones was a hot mess - thanks for bringing her to mind today!

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful post! Here's to Mother Jones... and to all her spiritual sons and daughters!

TaraDharma said...

ah, thanks for this tribute to MJ and her work. She has been a hero of mine since my early teens, and her work encouraged my own activism.

Busy Bee Suz said...

She is amazing! I remember learning about her years ago.
LOVE this quote.
Have a great day.

scienceguy288 said...

Great post to remember this amazing woman. As she said, "Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living."

George said...

Thanks for the information on Mother Jones. I had heard the name, but knew very little about her before this.
I hope you had a great Labor Day.

Jayne said...

Wouldn't it have been a hoot to have her at the dinner table? :c) Thanks for sharing this interesting woman with us Carolyn.

cyclopseven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cyclopseven said...

She is indeed a rare breed. People like her comes once in awhile, and leave deepest impression in the hearts of humankind. Thanks for this write.

troutbirder said...

Well done Carolyn. I had done some role-plays involving her in my senior social studies classes. She was demonized then just like unions are today by a certain portion of the media.

merrilymarylee said...

What a wonderful quote!!!

So glad you wrote about her. MJ will mean Mother Jones to me from now on instead of Michael Jordan. My brain feels better already.

JeanMac said...

Hadn't heard that story - good for her.