New book on W. Virginia coal wars from James Green

“The Devil is here in these hills”

James Green Book Cover

newly published – Prof. Jim Green’s book on the West Virginia Coal miners and their struggles

From before the dawn of the twentieth century until the arrival of the New Deal, one of the most protracted and deadly labor struggles in American history was waged in West Virginia. On one side were powerful corporations whose millions bought mercenary armed guards and political influence. On the other side were fifty thousand mine workers, the nation’s largest labor union, and the legendary “miners’ angel,” Mother Jones. The fight for unionization and civil rights sparked a political crisis that verged on civil war, stretching from the creeks and hollows to the courts and the U.S. Senate. In The Devil Is Here in These Hills, historian James Green tells the story of West Virginia and coal like never before.

 

When rail arrived in Appalachia in the 1870s, the country’s wealthiest industrialists pushed fast into the wilderness, digging mines and building company towns where they wielded vast control over everyday life—from hiring minsters to issuing their own money. The state’s high-quality coal drove America’s expansion and industrialization, but for the tens of thousands of miners, incl8uding boys as young as ten, the mining life showed the bitter irony of West Virginia’s motto, “Mountaineers Are Always Free.” Attempts to unionize were met with stiff resistance. Fundamental rights were bent, then broken, and the violence evolved from guerrilla warfare to open armed conflicts. Eventually thousands of miners marched to an explosive showdown on the slopes of Blair Mountain.

Prof. James Green

Prof. James Green

Green’s fascinating book traces this decades-long story that has been all but lost to American memory. Based on extensive research and told in vibrant detail, The Devil Is Here in These Hills is the definitive book on an essential chapter in the history of American freedom.

 

 

James Green was one of the main speakers at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014.

Mother Jones & Her Children DVD now available

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Mother Jones And Her Children is a 52 minute long documentary which outlines the extraordinary life and activities of the most famous Cork woman in America. Produced by Emma Bowell and Eddie Noonan of Cork based Frameworks Films (www.frameworksfilms.com) in cooperation with the Cork Mother Jones Committee. Highly recommended.

DVDs (€10 each) are available from Jim Nolan at 22/23 Shandon Street, Cork.
DVDs incl.package and postage within Ireland are €12 each.
Package and postage to UK, Europe or USA €14 each.
For bulk purchases, contact Jim on 086 1651356.
Send postal order or euro draft or euro cheque payable to Cork Mother Jones Committee to above address.

You can view a short (2 minute) excerpt from the film below.

 

Mother Jones clip from Eddie Noonan on Vimeo.

“Get off your knees” – the Rosemary Feurer lecture 2014

At the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 an important paper was delivered Professor Rosemary Feurer of Northern Illinois University.  Prof. Feurer, who had also spoken at the inaugural festival in Cork in 2012, examined the parallel activities of Mother Jones and the great Irish socialist leaders James Connolly and “Big Jim” Larkin, in particular looking at the similar paths they followed, both geographical and philosophical and conclusions they reached.

You can download the full text of Prof. Feurer’s lecture by clicking on the link below:-

Get Off Your Knees Feurer

 

 

Rosemary Feurer

Rosemary Feurer in Cork, August 2014 with the banner of Women Against Pit Closures from the UK Miner’s Strike 1984

Rosemary Feurer is Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.  She co-directed “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman”.  Author, she writes extensively on labour history.  Rosemary is Administrator of www.motherjonesmuseum.org website and Mother Jones Lives.  She attended the inaugural Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork in 2012 and delivered the above lecture at the same festival on August 1st, 2014.   You can download the full lecture by clicking on the link below:

 

Gatherings held to honour Mother Jones

Mother Jones' burial site at the Union Miner's Cemetery, Mount Ollive, Illinois, where she lies beside the victims of the Virden Massacre.

Mother Jones’ burial site at the Union Miner’s Cemetery, Mount Ollive, Illinois, where she lies beside the victims of the Virden Massacre.

On Sunday 5th October 2014 at mid day a gathering took place at the grave of Mother Jones at the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive, Illinois. After some speeches and some songs from labour singer Len Wallace, the participants raised a toast in honour of Mother Jones. Irish Whiskey from Co Cork in the form of Jameson’s Redbreast was used and there followed a rousing rendition of “Solidarity Forever” after which many of the participants returned for the annual Mother Jones Foundation dinner at Springfield, Illinois later on Sunday night.

Attended by over 200 people, this annual dinner also heard a special message of greetings from the Cork Mother Jones committee.
According to Terry Reed, one of the event organisers;
“We hope this is the beginning of many more exchanges between our two groups as we are united in telling the world of the great lessons this grand champion of the working class spoke, took action and lived”
Terry also promised a film message from the Mother Jones Foundation for the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.
State of Illinois Senator Andy Manar attended the Mother Jones gathering at Mount Olive on Sunday 5th October. He announced at the event that the State of Illinois had approved a grant for $41,000 towards the restoration of the grave site and monument of Mother Jones at Mount Olive. Senator Manar had also sent a wonderful message of solidarity to the Spirit of Mother Jones festival earlier this year (click link to view) 
 
Already some $70,000 has been raised through the efforts of the trade union movement and the Illinois AFL-CIO thus ensuring that the full restoration of the grave site becomes a reality.

Cork Indie festival to show new Mother Jones film

As part of the Cork Indie Festival, On Sunday 19th October, the new documentary by Frameworks Films “Mother Jones and Her Children” will be shown at the Gate Cinema, North Main Street, Cork starting at 12 noon. Congratulations to director Emma Bowell and Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films on this truely amazing account of the extraordinary life of Mary Harris/Mother Jones. All Mother Jones supporters are very welcome.
Indie Cork is a fMotherJonesA3PosterLowRes-Copyestival of independent film and music which runs in a number of venues in Cork city from 12th to 19th October 2014.   The festival champions independent film productions from Cork, from Ireland and from around the world.
For more information on the festival and the film “Mother Jones and her Children” visit www.indiecork.com or www.frameworkfilms.com

 

Anne Scargill & Betty Cook sing The Women’s Song

A number of people have asked if any video footage was available of Anne Scargill and Betty Cook of Women Against Pit Closures singing their anthem from the Miners Strike era – “The Women’s Song”.  The song was written by Mal Finch.  Our thanks to Frameworks Films for the video.  By popular demand here it is – performed during their session at the Firkin Crane on July 31st.

 

 

Anne Scargill and Betty Cook, Women Against Pit Closures at the Firkin Crane with Yorkshire Mother Jones banner.

Anne Scargill and Betty Cook, Women Against Pit Closures at the Firkin Crane with Yorkshire Mother Jones banner.

Mt. Olive proclamation of friendship

During the recent Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Mr James Goltz from Bunker Hill, Illinois presented the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mary Shields with a proclamation from the community of Mount Olive, Illinois seeking “to extend a symbolic hand of friendship to our brothers and sisters in the birthplace of one so great in stature as the legendary Mother Jones”

The proclamation of friendship, supported by the Mount Olive Council and signed by Mr John M. Skertich, Mayor of Mt. Olive calls on both Mt. Olive and Cork together to ” celebrate her spirit while crediting her role in the history of both countries and in the globe. This common duty of stewardship stands as an unbreakable bond between our two cities.”

The Mt. Olive proclamation of friendship signed by Mayor John M. Skertich

The Mt. Olive proclamation of friendship signed by Mayor John M. Skertich

Mother Jones passed away at the Burgess home in Hyattsville, Maryland on 30th November 1930. Her funeral was held on December 8th at the Church of the Ascension, the Mount Olive Catholic Church. From there, her remains were taken and buried in the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive near the graves of the victims of the 1898 Virden Massacre.

Mayor Skertich concludes the proclamation by inviting an agreement between Cork and Mount Olive to “promise to safeguard and promote both her resting place and birthplace, as we celebrate her life by jointly continuing to tell the life story of this great Irish woman to a wider audience.”

James Goltz with Lord Mayor Mary Shields

James Goltz with Cork’s Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Shields at Cork City Hall.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to support the initiative taken by the city of Mount Olive. The Shandon Area Renewal Association has already agreed to promote, encourage and foster the links between the community of the birthplace of Mary Harris/Mother Jones and the community where she now lies at rest. A motion supporting the adoption of the Mount Olive proclamation will be presented to Cork City Council and it is the fervent wish of all involved that it be supported and formal fraternal links be established between the custodians of her native birthplace and her chosen resting place.