The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Beginning on Saturday 1st August, the Cork Mother Jones Committee in conjunction with Cork Community TV are making available on television, some of the talks and presentations, which have been delivered at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festivals and Summer Schools since 2012.

The original series of Mother Jones annual lectures, will be shown on Saturday next while during the month of August, further talks delivered over the years at the Summer School will be televised. These will feature Margaret Aspinall, Louise O’Keeffe, Fr. Peter McVerry, Chris Mullin, Anne Twomey and many others.

These are free to view, thanks to Frameworks Films and Cork Community TV, for allowing us to celebrate Mother Jones during August.

The 2020 festival will be held in late November 2020. Further talks and speakers, will be televised during the November Festival.

To see the schedules or tune into the live stream please visit www.corkcommunitytv.ie

Mor tune into Virgin Media Channel 803.

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Cork

Mother Jones Lives.

Some photos of past speakers, throughout the years.

Photo 1.
Fr. Peter McVerry at the plaque in 2015.

Photo 2.
Louise O’Keeffe receiving the Spirit of Mother Jones Award in 2018 from James Nolan and Ann Piggott of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Photo 3.
Sue Roberts, Margaret Aspinall, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, and Professor Simon Cordery in 2013.

Photo 4.
Marat Moore, Professor Rosemary Feurer, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Buttimer, and Professor Elliott Gorn in 2012.

Photo 5.
Former miner, Marat Moore in 2012.

Photo 6.
Kaiulani Lee with Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Buttimer in 2012.

Photo 7.
Warren Davies in 2017.

Photo 8.
Anne Twomey in 2016.

Photo 9.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Mick Finn, with the Mother Jones’, Joan Goggin, Aoife Delaney and Loretta Williams.

Photo 10.
Luke Dineen in 2016.

Photo 11.
Loretta Williams with Dominic O’Callaghan, Cork Mother Jones Committee in 2018.

The remarkable Wallace sisters.

Documentary on One – The Little Shop of Secrets by Bill Murphy.Saturday July 18th at 1pm on Radio 1In the early decades of the last century two …

http://www.rte.ie/doconone

The remarkable Wallace sisters.

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-about-about-a-republican-newsagents-in-revolution-era-cork-1.2736364

The remarkable Wallace sisters.

Documentary on One – The Little Shop of Secrets by Bill Murphy.Saturday July 18th at 1pm on Radio 1
In the early decades of the last century two sisters, Nora and Sheila Wallace, ran a small newsagents in the centre of Cork City. However, their customers were unaware that when they bought their Irish Times or Cork Examiner, that this small shop also traded in military secrets during the Irish War of Independence – from deciphering codes, to keeping the inventory of armaments for the Cork No. 1 Brigade, Irish Republican Army. 
Sheila and Nora Wallace grew up in rural north Cork, before coming to live and work in Cork City in the 1900s where they rented the premises on Brunswick Street (now St Augustine’s Street) in the centre of the city. On the very narrow street in the shadow of the large St Augustine’s Church, the shop sold newspapers, sweets, cigarettes, magazines and religious items such as statues and rosary beads. 
Over the shop the sisters lived in small, meagre quarters. Interested in nationalist and socialist ideals, Sheila and Nora became friendly with figures such and James Connolly and Countess Markievicz. Because of their deep-rooted sense of nationalism, they also came to know prominent local nationalist figures in Cork such as Tomás McCurtain, Terence MacSwiney, Florence O’Donoghue, Seán O’Hegarty, as well as Michael Collins.  
As the nationalist movement gained more popularity throughout Ireland, the Wallace Sisters became deeply involved with the Irish Volunteers. After the shutting down of the Cork Volunteers headquarters in Sheares Street in 1917, the Wallaces’ small shop became more than a meeting place for the leadership of the Cork Volunteers. It was essentially the Brigade headquarters where the intelligence and communications activities in the city and county were co-ordinated during the War of Independence. 
Records show that Sheila became a Staff Officer in the IRA, making her one of the highest female rank holders in the organisation at the time. Meetings of Cork No. 1 Brigade leadership were held in the kitchen at the back of the shop, where raids and ambushes were planned. Dispatches went through the shop for IRA operations. Spies in the Crown forces were recruited and handled by the Wallaces and British Army codes were deciphered by them. They also kept meticulous records of the armaments and equipment held by the Brigade, effectively acting in the role as quartermasters.
In The Little Shop of Secrets, Bill Murphy – grandnephew to Sheila and Nora Wallace – pieces together the remarkable story of two young women who placed their lives in grave danger by running an intelligence centre, safe house and spy network from their little shop in the centre of Cork City during the War of Independence, right under the noses of the Royal Irish Constabulary and British Crown forces. 
Contributors to the documentary include Dr. John Borgonovo and Gabriel Doherty from the History Department in University College Cork, local historians Anne Twomey and Gerry White, Commandant Daniel Ayiotis of the Bureau of Military History, Daniel Breen of Cork Public Museum, Bernadette Wallace – niece to Nora and Sheila Wallace, Ted Murphy – grandnephew to Nora and Sheila Wallace.
Saturday 18th July, 1pm, RTÉ Radio 1Sunday 19th July, 7pm, RTÉ Radio1 Narrated by Bill MurphyProduced by Bill Murphy and Sarah Blakewww.rte.ie/doconone
Note:On 30th July 2016, Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group gave a talk on “The Wallace Sisters” at the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School before a packed audience which included Bernadette Wallace, a niece of the sisters.The remarkable story of the sisters came as a surprise to many who attended, which showed how quietly these two extraordinary women went about their business.  

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The story of Marjorie Mazia and Woody Guthrie.

Saul Schneiderman, (below alongside a Mother Jones marker), editor of Friday’s Labor Folklore has sent us the following link to the story of Marjorie Mazia and Woody Guthrie.

Marjorie and Woody were married in 1945 and had four children, Cathy Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Joady Guthrie and Nora Guthrie.

Woody was one of America’s greatest working class singers and wrote many union songs including Union Maid.

To receive many other stories from the history of the Labour Movement send an email and say “Subscribe me” to
fridaysfolklore@gmail.com

https://conta.cc/2Z79HTh

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Cork.
Mother Jones Lives.

Mother Jones Dedication -Film

 

The Cork Mother Jones Committee received the following film from Saul Schniderman, the person who discovered the site of Mother Jones’ death (1930) in Adelphi, Maryland. The Maryland Historic Trust has placed a marker there, on Powder Mill Road, before the Hillandale Baptist Church.
The film shows the dedication of the Mary Harris “Mother Jones” Elementary School on May 16, 2003. The film was made by Dave Zahren who worked for the Prince George’s County Board of Education, Television Resources division.
To view film Click here
(This YouTube clip will play after one minute.)
“This film celebrates the opening of Mary Harris “Mother Jones” Elementary School in Adelphi, MD, which opened in 2000. The film features footage from the dedication, including interviews from students, faculty, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The film also includes a video shared with the audience on the day of dedicating the school, which includes additional interviews and more background on the school.
The film also features archival footage of Mother Jones, including a rare recording of her voice where she says, “…And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destinies of the nation in her own hands, and she will stand a united force and show the world what the workers can do.”
This film was produced by Prince George’s County Public Schools Office of Television Resources, and donated to the Meany Labor Archive by Mother Jones historian Saul Schniderman, also featured in the film.”
The Mary Harris Elementary School now has almost a thousand students and these comprise children from many nationalities. Mother Jones would have been extremely proud of this educational establishment named in her honour.

Cork Mother Jones Festival 2020 postponed.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee, wishes, to announce the postponement of the ninth Spirit of Mother Jones Festival (2020), from its original date (29th July-1st Aug), to the final weekend in November. (November 27th -30th).
James Nolan, spokesperson for the festival and summer school stated.
“We are postponing the festival in the interests of the safety of those attending, and those taking part, due to the uncertainty as to the conditions under which it could take place.
We feel the November date allows for more certainty and gives us time to ensure the safety of those attending. It also gives us the option of perhaps using online technology to ensure the festival can go ahead.
Mother Jones died on the 30th November 1930, so we will commemorate the 90th Anniversary of her passing at the forthcoming festival in November.
The fact that in the past week the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins invoked the famous quote of Mother Jones, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living” to honour our front line and emergency workers, as an acknowledgement of her role in protecting workers and ensuring decent working conditions for millions of people. Today, thousands around the world still draw inspiration from her work.
Indeed as an indicator or her resilience, it should be remembered that she herself survived three fever pandemics……. the Great Famine here in Cork, the Yellow Fever outbreak in Memphis in 1867, which took her family and the Flu pandemic of 1918/19.” She continued to practice as a nurse in Memphis until the fever outbreak was over.
We also intend to ensure she will be remembered around the period of July/August and closer to the original dates we will see the most practical way to celebrate her birth in Cork.”
The Festival Facebook pages and the website at http://www.motherjonescork.com will continue to update the position.
Picture 1: Mother Jones in 1901.
Picture 2: Joan Goggin, Cork’s own Mother Jones (Courtesy of Andy Jay).
Picture 3: March of the Mill Children, in Shandon, in 2019 (Courtesy of Claire Stack).
Picture 4: Mother Jones, meeting, President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge.

Mother Jones May Day We Shall Rise Party

Join our live celebration on zoom. WE SHALL RISE!
Preregister at link recommended. Join Sara Nelson (AFA/CWA), Cecil Roberts (UMWA) & Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S., Brian Obrien, Ireland’s consul general for Chicago & Midwest.& MORE !
Toasts from Cork Ireland, Mother Jones’ birthplace & Mother Jones
Monument, Mt. Olive Illinois.
Learn about our MJ Chicago sculpture
project in Chicago from our artists.
Registration recommended. We’ll give the live meeting info on the day of the meeting

Recommend you register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUudeiuqz4jGtJDDe7kzRBgt59G

 

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Mother Jones….. US National Mining Hall of Fame Inductee 248.

Mother Jones…..National Mining Hall of Fame Inductee 248.

Mary “Mother Jones” photographed in 1901

On September 14, 2019 Mother Jones was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville, Colorado.

According to its website….

“The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is a monument to the memory of the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development, and processing of our nation’s natural resources. Our mission is to “tell the story of mining, its people, its importance to the American public, and to society’s sustainability.”  Known as the “Smithsonian of the Rockies” and the “Premier Showcase of American Mining” the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum houses 25,000 square feet of interactive and informative exhibits sharing the evolving narrative of mining and its relationship to our everyday lives.”

Mother Jones is Inductee 248.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum at Leadville, Colorado, USA

Her induction citation read as follows;

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones is one of the most famous labor activists in the cause of economic justice. Her battle cry, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” truly said it all.  Her powerful speeches and knack for theatrics encouraged many to form unions and strike for fair wages and safe working conditions. Known as the “Miner’s Angel” for her advocacy on their behalf, Mother Jones’s activism set the stage for the labor and safety laws we all benefit from today. A champion of the working class, she organized numerous miners’ strikes against low pay, 12-hour days, 7-day work weeks, extreme mortality rates, and child labor, and railed against the servitude of company stores and company housing.  When she began organizing for the United Mine Workers Union in the 1890s, it had 10,000 members; within a few years, 300,000 men had joined.  Hearing Jones speak, you discovered the secret of her influence – she had force, she had wit, and above all she had the fire of indignation. Mother Jones’s impassioned work is recognized in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, U.S. Department of Labor’s Hall of Honors, and the Irish American Hall of Fame. 

The historian and sociologist James Loewen (Author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your High School History Textbook Got Wrong) criticised the National Mining Hall of Fame a few years ago for inducting mostly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant men, who were disproportionately engineers, executives and wealthy mine owners. Where were the miners, Loewen asked, where the immigrants and workers of colour, the labour organisers, the women.  Why was there no commemoration to the thousands who died in the mines?

Mother Jones biographer Prof Elliot Gorn at last year’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork, Ireland

Elliott Gorn, author of Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America, who spoke at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork in 2019 stated

 

The Mining Hall of Fame has become a bit more inclusive in recent years, a little more attuned to worker exploitation, safety and environmental issues.  Hopefully, the inclusion of Mother Jones signals that the Hall of Fame will continue to pay more attention to the issues she long agitated about.”

Mother Jones visits Calumet, Michigan in August 1913

Mother Jones arrives at Calumet, Michigan in August 1913.

Mother Jones visits Calumet, Michigan in August 1913.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is very grateful to Jeremiah Mason, Archivist of the National Parks Service, Lake Superior Collection Management Centre at Keweenaw National Historical Park at Calumet in Michigan for providing the Cork Mother Jones Committee with a collection of five photographs of Mother Jones.

These show her arriving and taking part in a march in the town of Calumet in August 1913 to support an ongoing strike by the copper miners of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM).

Mother Jones greeted bylarge crowds as she arrives by car with local strike leaders

These photos from August 1913 show the sense of excitement, expectation and colour in the town at the arrival of 76 year old Mother Jones. She is surrounded by male union leaders and local dignitaries. The look of wonder in some of the workers standing close to Mother Jones gives the impression of the legendary status and reverence in which she is held by miners. Mother Jones herself appears very serious and quietly determined amidst the phalanx of union men. She addressed the workers later at a mass meeting in the town.

Mother Jones (in car) leads march of strikers through Calumet, Michigan, August 1913

The wider context of these rare photos (in addition to the earlier Michigan Technological University photos on this site) is even more important as 1913/14 was the period of the Coal Wars and of frenetic activity by Mother Jones, who was at the height of her fame. Earlier in 1913, she had been very active in the West Virginia miner strikes, which had turned violent.

Mother Jones arrives with union leaders

Mother Jones was arrested by the military, court-martialled and jailed. Detained from 12th February until 8th May 1913, she was as defiant as ever when released and continued working to support the miners, addressing a meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York on 27th May 1913.

Following this August visit to Calumet, she proceeded to Colorado to actively support the United Mine Workers of America in the year long strike. During this period she was deported by the militia from Trinidad, Colorado and imprisoned twice, for a two month period and later for 23 days in          Walsenburg in appalling conditions in a dark basement cell.

On release she made speeches in Boston, New York, Washington, Seattle and British Colombia and even found time to travel south to El Paso on the Mexican border to prevent the introduction of scab labour from Mexico. She testified in Washington before House Committee on Mines and Mining.

While she was in Washington, the massacre at Ludlow on April 20th 1914 took place.  Women and children were burned to death following the local militia setting fire to the miners tent colony established during the strike.

Over 70 people died during and after Ludlow and President Woodrow Wilson dispatched Federal troops to the region to prevent civil war breaking out. Mother Jones had called for the Federal Government to take over the mines. This was rejected by President Wilson, who subsequently made proposals to settle the strikes, she urged the miners to accept the proposals.

Mother Jones (seated in car) leads the parade in support of striking copper miners

Mother Jones, although by then almost 77 years old worked constantly to assist and provide support to “her boys”. She had attained legendary status among workers everywhere and was feared by the authorities and mine owners.

These photos show the huge impact of her arrival to help the union in “Copper Country”.

Our thanks to Jeremiah Mason and all at Calumet.

The photographs are courtesy of the National Parks Service, Lake Superior Collection Management Centre at Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet.