US campaign to put Mother Jones on postage stamp

An interesting story which appeared in the Huffington Post about a month ago regarding a new campaign that has been started in the United States to have Mother Jones commemorated on a postage stamp in her adopted country.

According to the article by author, playwright and former union activist David Macaray, a group of US labour activists and historians have got together and formed a campaign to put a Mother Jones stamp on millions of letters, postcards and parcels posted in the USA. Macaray argues that if Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne could be featured on postage stamps, then why not Mother Jones?

The campaign is asking people, and particularly US citizens, to write to the US Postal Administration and ask for Mother Jones to be featured on a commemorative stamp in the near future.  It is a call we wholeheartedly endorse at the Cork Mother Jones Commemorative Committee.   As we’re at it, the same request could be put to the Irish postal authorities (An Post).  They even have an online form where suitable subjects and individuals who people think should be put on commemorative stamps can be suggested.     You can make that submission here.   There is a precedent for join stamp issues between the US and Ireland.  In the past identical stamps were issued simultaneously in the US and Ireland to mark the 150th anniversary of the Irish Great Famine.   Maybe we can make that a transatlantic campaign to put the head of Mother Jones on postage stamps on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean!

Mother Jones plaque takes shape

Mother Jones plaque

Mother Jones plaque – a work in progress by sculptor Mick WIlkins

The photo above shows the commemorative plaque to Mother Jones which will be unveiled on Wednesday, 1st August during the Cork Mother Jones festival.  This photo was taken some time ago when the bronze image of Mother Jones was in being cast.  This will be highly polished and will stand out from the main plaque.  Sculptor Mick Wilkins has done a marvellous job on the plaque and we hope to have some more photos soon of the finished product.  Of course the best place to see the plaque will be to attend the unveiling ceremony at John Redmond Street, Shandon at 7.30pm on August 1st.   There you will see history taking place as Cork finally remembers its rebel daughter Mary Harris Jone / Mother Jones.

Cork’s Mother Jones Festival launched at packed press conference

The Cork Mother Jones Festival was formally launched yesterday at a packed press conference at Shandon’s Maldron Hotel.

Between 50 and 60 people, including reporters, photographers, columnists and members of the Cork Mother Jones committee attended the press launch where the full line-up of events and acts was announced.

Committee member Jim Fitzpatrick said that there had been a phenomenal growth in public interest in Mother Jones since the committee had been formed last year and had announced its intention of formally commemorating a Cork woman who had made her mark on the social, political and labour history of the United States of America and indeed throughout North America.

Councillor Ted Tynan, whose 2010 motion to Cork City Council calling for official recognition to be given to Mary Harris Jones, said that the Cork woman, once practically unknown in her native city, would now be a well known icon of the city and of the Shandon area in particular.

The list of events and musical performances taking place during the July 31st to August 2nd Festival is quite impressive:-

The Firkin Crane will see the opening of a photographic exhibition, which details her life at 12.15 on Wednesday 1st August. This will be followed at 1pm by a concert featuring many local artists performing songs, poetry and extracts from the writings of Mother Jones. Later at 3pm, Professor Elliott Gorn of Brown University and Marat Moore a former miner and member of the United Mineworkers of America will give a talk on the historical significance of “the most dangerous woman in America”.

The Butter Exchange Band will perform some Mother Jones classic songs such as “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes”, “Union Maid” in a recital, just after the famous Bells of Shandon ring out at 18.37.

Following the formal unveiling of the plaque by members of the Cork Mother Jones Commemoration Committee, the evening’s entertainment will continue at 8.30 with a spectacular fundraising concert at St Anne’s Church, Shandon featuring Andy Irvine  (Tickets for the Andy Irivine concert can be got from any committee member or by phoning Ger on (086) 3196063 or Jim on (086) 3033576.

The Maldron Hotel will be the venue for the final musical event of the festival with a spectacular free concert featuring Hank Wedel, Two Time polka and a host of artists beginning at 9.30.

The previous evening’s “gathering” will see the Irish premiere of the film, “Mother Jones, the most dangerous woman in America” directed by Rosemary Feurer who will attend the launch also at the Maldron Hotel, followed by an evening of songs and music featuring the Cork Singers Club.

There will also be a bus tour for the guests and other interested people including a trip to Cobh from where Mary Harris emigrated with her family during the Great Famine and to Inchigeela where Mary Harris’s mother Ellen Cotter came from.  Bus tickets are €15 euro and can also be got from Ger on (086) 3196063 or Jim on (086) 3033576 or from any committee member.

The Manager of the Maldron Hotel, where much of the weekend’s events will be centred, said that the Mother Jones Festival would be an important boost to tourism in the Shandon which is a microcosm of the city’s history.  Michael Lally, who is also a member of the committee, said that the Mother Jones Festival, the redevelopment of the area and its wealth of historical assets was making the Shandon area a magnet for tourism.

Historian Richard T. Cooke agreed while Jim Nolan of the Shandon Street Festival said that the rediscovery of Mother Jones added new colour and diversity to the history and culture of the area.

Mother Jones featured on Irish genealogy magazine

Irish Lives remembered magazine

Mother Jones and the forthcoming Cork Mother Jones festival have been featured prominently in the latest edition of the Irish Lives Remembered genealogy magazine.   The emagazine can be viewed here:

The magazine can be viewed online or downloaded in PDF format and in addition to the Mother Jones articles provides a wealth of information and interesting features on Irish ancestry and related themes.

The appearance of the article on Mother Jones and several prominent articles in local and national newspapers and magazines is all sign of a growing interest in Mother Jones in her native Ireland and in particular in her native city of Cork where she has been heretofore practically unknown.




Mother Jones events programme announced

The Cork Mother Jones Commemorative committee has announced the preliminary programme of events for the Fesitval which will be held in the Shandon area on the Northside of Cork City, Ireland from 31st July to 2nd August 2012.

The Festival opens on Tuesday, 31st July with the Irish premiere of Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman with the film’s director / producer Rosemary Feuer present to discuss the film and its subject. This will be followed by an evening of music and song at the Maldron Hotel with the Cork Singers’ Club.

Day two, entitled “The Main Event”, opens with a commemorative Mass at Cork’s North Cathedral where Mary Harris was baptised exactly 175 years earlier to the day on 1st August 1837.   This will be followed by a tour of the area for our guests and the official opening of the Mother Jones Exhibition and a concert at the Firkin Crane centre, part of Cork’s historic butter market.  In the afternoon there will be a lecture and discussion with Prof. Elliot Gorn, biographer of Mother Jones; and Marat Moore, former miner, writer and US labour activist.    Wednesday evening’s events will be opened with the ringing out of the world famous Shandon Bells over Cork City at exactly 18.37 hrs to mark the 175th anniversary of Mother Jones’ birth.  This will be followed by a recital from the local Butter Exchange Brass band and the official unveiling of the Mother Jones plaque, beautifully sculpted by artist Mick Wilkins, at John Redmond Street, Shandon.

The night will be completed with the “Freedom Bells” concert at St. Ann’s Church of Ireland Shandon with the renowned singer / songwriter Andy Irvine who has recorded a song dedicated to Mother Jones   There will also be an event entitled Mother Jones – music, song and dance at the Maldron Hotel, featuring Hank Wedel, Two Time Polka and a host of musicians, singers and dancers.

The event will end with a day long tour for the guests, taking in Shandon, Cobh and Inchigeelagh, all places which were associated with Mother Jones.

You can download the preliminary programme Mother Jones Programme.   The final programme will be published in early June.

Cork Plans for Mother Jones Festival

Preparations for the Mother Jones weekend on July 31st to August 1st 2012 are ongoing and we hope to publish full details of the celebrations soon.

A weekend of music, exhibitions and lively discussions is promised with a number of well known local musicians already confirmed.  We will be unveiling the plaque to Mary Harris Jones in the Shandon area on August 1st.   Update to be published on this site and in the media in the next week.

Cork's Mother Jones Festival