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.

 

 

 

 

Beatles Album cover designer Jann Haworth includes Mother Jones in her latest mural creation.

The original Sgt. Pepper album cover from 1967

Beatles Album cover designer Jann Haworth includes Mother Jones in her latest mural creation.

Cork woman Mother Jones has been included among the women icons in the Work in Progress Celebrating Women Who are Catalysts for Change mural featuring the faces of more than 100 influential women which have either been written out of history or marginalised.

This mural has been designed in Utah in America by Jann Hayworth and her daughter Liberty Blake.

Jann Haworth and her husband Peter Blake designed the famous album cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band back in 1967, arguably the best remembered LP Album cover of all time.

This Beatles album spent 27 weeks at the top of the British charts and featured such songs as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, When I’m Sixty-Four, A little Help from my Friends and A Day in the Life!

The recent Work in Progress mural consists of seven panels is 28 foot long and 8 foot wide has been on display at various cities in America and is now on its way to the UK where it will be on display at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester from November 2nd.

The Cork Mother Jones committee recently noticed that an image matching Mother Jones was on the front row of panel two of Work In Progress, so we contacted both Jann Hayworth and Liberty Blake directly who confirmed that Mother Jones is indeed featured in the mural.

Jann explained that she was a fervent admirer of Mother Jones and held her in high esteem due to her Irish great grandmother and was more than happy to include Mother Jones among those women in history whom she regards as catalysts for positive change in society.”

The new mural featuring Mother Jones to the left of the second panel. Courtesy of Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake.

Among the 100 or so women listed and portrayed in the Catalysts for Change mural alongside Mother Jones are Anne Frank, Michelle Obama, Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, Helen Keller and Mother Teresa and many others. (See workinprogressmural.org)

It should be noted that Mother Jones was also included by Jann Haworth in a permanent public civic Wall Mural alongside Martin Luther King and Gandhi in downtown Salt Lake City in Utah in 2004. This is known as the SLC Pepper mural and is an updated version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover.

The 2004 image in Salt LakeCity, Utah

Maybe one day soon the Catalysts for Change exhibition might be displayed in Cork city?

Historic new photos of Mother Jones rediscovered

Mother Jones in car

Mother Jones with Guy Miller (Miner’s Bulletin)

 

The Cork Mother Jones Committee has received the following photographs of Mother Jones during her visit to Northern Michigan during the Copper Country strike of 1913/14. She went north to the Great Lakes area to address a mass meeting of the union members and supporters. Mother Jones was 76 years old at the time. 

 
The strike, organised by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), is today best remembered for the Italian Hall Disaster on Christmas Eve 1913 when a false fire alarm at a miners function in a hall in Calumet, Michigan caused a crush and resulted in the deaths of 73 people, mainly children.
Woodie Guthrie’s song “1913 Massacre” tells the story of this disaster. 
 

Mother Jones in Strikers Parade 1913

These photographs were supplied by the Michigan Technological University Archives and the Copper County Historical Collections. We wish to thank Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist of the Michigan Technological University.

Mining Strike (Michigan Technological University Archive

 
We acknowledge also the assistance of Jeremiah Mason Archivist of the Lake Superior Collection Management Centre in Calumet, Michigan. Thanks also to James Goltz of the Mount Olive museum. 

Preliminary announcement for Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2020

The Cork Mother Jones Committee has announced that the 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School will take place in and around Shandon over four days from Wednesday 29th July to Saturday 1st August 2020.
 
It will again feature talks, discussions, films, songs, stories and music associated with the “Spirit of Mother Jones”. 
These will relate to labour and trade union matters, the history and heritage of the lives and contributions of working people, along with social justice, environmental and human rights issues.
 
The Committee welcomes relevant, interesting and challenging ideas, proposals and suggestions for topics or events for the 2020 festival and summer school from the public. Please forward outline details as soon as possible to motherjonescork@gmail.com for consideration. 
Each year we present the prestigious Spirit of Mother Jones award to honour an individual (or group) who has made a difference to the pursuit of justice.
 
The Spirit of Mother Jones is a community based festival which is coordinated by a voluntary committee. We try to make a contribution to the expenses of those participating although most of those participating do so on a voluntary basis. In return, the events are informal, free and open to all to attend as we do not impose a charge on those who come along. We rely entirely on the goodwill, expertise and work of those participating, on the generosity of the local community in Cork, on fundraising and donations as well as sponsorship from the Cork City Council and the Trade Union movement.           

Recollections of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2019

Louise O’Keeffe with the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award

 

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is very proud of our choice of Louise O’Keeffe as the recipient of the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones award. An extraordinary fighter, an inspirational woman who had stunned the 2018 summer school with her lecture, “One Woman’s Fight for Justice”. Louise is unique and Cork people should be so proud that we have such fighters for justice in our midst.

The theatrical recreation of the March of the Mill Children organised by the wonderfully creative Cork Community Art Link through the historic streets of Shandon, also captured headlines. The parade was staged and directed by two talented artists Elisa Gallo Rosso and Beibhinn O’Callaghan. The stylish Cobh Animation team provided the classic New York backdrop for the marchers arrival at Shandon Bells.

A scene from the reenactment of the March of the Mill Children (Photo by Claire Stack)

The redoubtable Joan Goggin, Cork’s own Mother Jones, led the children who carried the same relevant messages as the original young marchers in 1903. And yet the economic exploitation of children continues in many countries……. ever wonder who makes the mobile phones on which you read this article or the clothes you wear?

Lord Mayor Dr John Sheehan accompanied by Aedemar joined in the March festivities and later performed the official opening at the Maldron Hotel having been piped in the traditional manner by Norman O’Rourke.

 

 

Still Relevant! – One of the young re-enactors with the slogan attributed to Mother Jones over 100 years ago (Photo: Claire Stack)

 

 

 

 

Elliot Gorn

The atmospheric Cathedral Visitors Centre saw author Séan O’Tuathaigh discussing his new book, Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced, and pleaded for people to realise that migrants and refugees are just like us (Some 70 million people are now displaced across the world). Quoting Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd…… Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate and hate leads to violence. This is the equation. How true!

The opening night lectures featured Joe Creedon and Elliott Gorn as they discussed the origins and legacy of Mary Harris/Mother Jones. As the Inchigeelagh Lass rang out around the Firkin Crane Theatre, no one could be in any doubt about the fighting qualities of the men and women of Uibh Laoire. Elliott then discussed the fighting qualities of Mother Jones.

The unique Cork Singers’ Club sang out the night as many singers remembered our late Bean A Tì, the great Helen O’Donovan. Helen remains in our hearts, she so loved the Spirit of Mother Jones festival and was missed. To Mick and family we extend our sympathy.

Lorraine Starsky receiving presentation from Ann Piggott on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Retired public health nurse Lorraine Starskey from Pittsburg told the story of the Rebel Girl, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on Thursday morning. A visitor to the festival Nancy Wallach, daughter of Lincoln Brigadista Hy Wallach, (1914-1986) described to the attendance how as a young woman she had met Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and how Elizabeth had later joined Nancy on vacation. Nancy had been named Nancy Elizabeth Wallach after Elizabeth. Living history!

The sadly ignored Irish Radical diaspora ensures we only celebrate politicans and business people who made good, rarely those who like Mother Jones who actually assisted the millions of forgotten Irish emigrants.

 

Dr. Kieran Groeger

Another member of the ignored Irish radical diaspora was John Swiney who fled to France. Youghal based author and historian Dr Kieran Groeger has rescued the Shandon based United Irishman from obscurity and provided substantial evidence to show that Swiney was indeed a very senior figure in the United Irishmen organisation. Why does Swiney not feature on the National Monument on the Grand Parade?

Liam Cahill (left), author of Fogotten Revolution, Limerick Soviet 1919, with Mike McNamara, President of Limerick Trades Council.

The author of Forgotten Revolution – Limerick Soviet 1919, Liam Cahill introduced the documentary The Limerick Soviet. It is noteworthy that the pivotal role of Cobh born Jack (Sean) Dowling friend of James Connolly in the Limerick Soviet, is at last receiving renewed attention.

Later on Thursday evening before a packed attendance, historian Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group gave a very vivid and comprehensive account of Ballintemple born humanitarian Mary Elmes who will be honoured by the latest bridge across the River Lee.

On the same evening, Cork-based street artist Paddy D’Arcy unveiled his mural painting tribute to local heroes Mother Jones and Michael O’Riordan on the Widderlings Lane gable of café Myo with the assistance of it’s owner Liam Mullaney. Michael’s son Manus O’Riordan attended the festival, the O’Riordan family lived a few doors from Myo’s.

LUke Dineen

An early start on Friday for historian Luke Dineen whose fascinating account of the role of Craftsmen and the craft unions in the War of Independence was a revelation to many of the attendance, which in turn led to an animated discussion. This is Luke’s seventh summer school presentation and his original research into labour history is very revealing.

Dr. John Barimo presented the facts on Climate Change and its potential impact on the poor nations. His frightening analysis should be a catalyst for action, as the clock is ticking past the point of no return. Hope may rest with the young people who attended and the presence of Micah Neilson and Alicia O’Sullivan whose optimism in the power of an invigorated youth may yet provide a key element for the solutions. The discussion uniquely witnessed three generations of activists participating in the examination of what is required to save our planet.

John Barimo, Michah Neilson and Alicia O’Sullivan receive presentation from Ann Piggot of Cork Mother Jones Committee

The world of work and working relationship and community was portrayed by the classic Frameworks Films documentary Fords – Memories of the Line and Bill Daly led the discussion.

The continuing impact of the explosion of the Total Oil tanker, the Betelgeuse at Whiddy Island on January 8th 1979, in which 50 people died was laid before the large attendance present by Michael Kingston, whose father Tim was among those who died. We were honoured to have his mother Mary attend the presentation. Michael described how he had just celebrated his fourth birthday with his father a few days earlier. His emotional pleas for compassion, humanity and justice from those in authority carried far beyond the confines of the Firkin Theatre. He announced the commencement by the relatives of court action to obtain justice and everyone can help him to achieve this by contributing through the Whiddy GoFundMe page.

Whiddy Disaster talk

Whiddy talk: (left-to right)Tom MacSweeney, Rory Warner son of Whiddy victim, Capt. David Warner, Michael Kingston, Mary Kingston and Cllr. Alan Coleman

Tom MacSweeney , who presents This Island Nation on radio, reminded everyone that we are “An Island Nation”and our neglect of the sea and seafarers is to our detriment. Placing the Whiddy disaster in this context, he mentioned that there had been 25 earlier incidents connection to the Gulf operation in Whiddy yet still the regulatory powers were not put in place.

More official silence remains over the Dublin/Monaghan car bombs in 1974, Frank Connolly in his book A Conspiracy of Lies uses the worst incident of the “troubles” as a backdrop for this interesting thriller.

Briege Voyle and Eileen McKeown (2nd and 4th from right respectively) with members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee

In their quiet and dignified matter, Briege Voyle and Eileen McKeown, the daughters of Joan Connolly and Joseph Corr who were killed by the British Parachute Regiment during the Ballymurphy Massacre from 9th to the 11th August 1971, described the raw and devastating results of these murders. Fifty seven children immediately lost a parent, generations lost their innocence and the trauma of this period have placed a huge personal toll on all the families over the almost 50 years since. No one has been brought to justice. The Inquest continues in Belfast.

Later on Saturday afternoon we learned what Rosa Parks was thinking about when she refused to give up her seat in the front of the bus in Montgomery in Alabama on December 1st 1955. Professor Elliott Gorn returned to tell the story of young Emmett Till whose face looking out from his open casket still haunts America. His mother Mamie, demanded to let the people see it and they did!

The festival had featured local Cork groups such as Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group, and Vocalic. Jimmy Crowley had again displayed his unique ability to entertain a crowd with new and old songs each with a story. William Hammond and Linda Quinlan played a lively traditional set. The songs of Pete Seeger sounded as fresh as ever in the hands of John Nyhan, Mick Treacy and Pat Kelleher. Conal Creedon packed Maureen’s and the laughter could be heard down on Christy Ring Bridge.

The toast at the Mother Jones plaque featured Rory MacCarthy and John Murphy winner of the 2019 Mother Jones Song contest with ‘Mine Workers Angel’. The annual toast was also to absent friends.

Rory McCarthy who sang the ballad of James Connolly

Once again the last gentle sinking rays of the early August evening sun appeared from over the empty historic Butter Market building and illuminated the limestone plaque as the crowds slowly dispersed until 2020.

The four days and nights of rememberings, celebrations, talks and discussions were over. We had experienced a lot emotionally and yet the spirit of solidarity and connectivity with living history and the ongoing campaigns for justice was never more alive. The Spirit of Mother Jones festival 2019 had remained challenging, relevant and interesting.

 

Betty Cook (left) and Ann Scargill of Women Against Pit Closures with their Mother Jones banner which they brought with them from Barnsley, South Yorkshire (Photo: Claire Stack)

 

Day 4 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School 2019

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today (Saturday, 3rd August) and the main events finish tonight, However there will also be an evening with the talented Stan Notte on Sunday night at Maureen’s Bar, John Redmond Street.

Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school events for Saturday 3rd August.

 

10:30 a.m.   L       Briege Voyle

Ballymurphy August 1971” 

F        Includes a screening of the Channel 4 documentary “The Ballymurphy Precedent”

Directed by Callum Macrae

Firkin Crane Theatre.

2:00 p m.             A Conspiracy of Lies

Author and journalist Frank Connolly launches his novel (Mercier Press.)

Maldron Hotel.

3:00 p.m      L       Prof. Elliott Gorn

The Lynching of Emmet Till. ……………A Civil Rights Movement is born!”

Firkin Crane Theatre.

5:30 p m               Conal Creedon reads from his new novel Begotten Not Made

7:30 p.m    M       Annual toast and songs to Mother Jones at the plaque on John Redmond Street.

Maureen’s

9:00 p.m    M      Vocalic   (Dance and celebrate the end of the 2019 festival.)

Maldron Hotel.

 

Sunday 4th August. 

In the round with Stan Notte. Music and Spoken Word.

Maureen’s, John Redmond Street at 8.30pm,

All welcome.