A new Historic Marker to be unveiled to Cork born Mother Jones in Illinois near Route 66.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee welcomes the wonderful news that a new Historic Roadside Marker monument is to be unveiled near the I-55 Southbound Coalfield Roadway in honour of Cork born woman Mother Jones.
The large marker has been placed with the cooperation of the Illinois Department of Transportation and will be unveiled on Monday 11th December next by Mr. Brian O’Brien, Ireland’s Consulate General in Chicago.
“We are delighted to congratulate the Mother Jones Heritage Project committee in Illinois for their enormous work to ensure that Mary Harris/Mother Jones is never forgotten. We especially wish to thank Professor Rosemary Feurer who has brought this project to fruition in Illinois and who has supported and inspired the Spirit of Mother Jones festival over the past 6 years and has spoken at it twice.” stated James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.
In addition to the Irish Consulate, representatives of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Labour History Society, the United Mine Workers of America, the Irish American Heritage Centre, the Route 66 Association and many others will attend the historic unveiling of the Mother Jones Marker.
The Coalfield rest area where the Marker is placed receives over 1 million visitors each year. This is the brainchild of the Mother Jones Heritage Project which established a museum near Mount Olive where Mother Jones is buried.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee has received commemorative scrolls from a number of trade union groups from the United States which collectively represent many millions of American workers. The proclamations express gratituted and appreciation of Cork born Mary Harris Jones (a.k.a. “Mother Jones”) and her pioneering work on behalf of U.S. and migrant workers in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century and also express thanks to the City of Cork and the Cork Mother Jones Committee for hosting the festival and summer school in her honour.
The proclamation from the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), the largest federation of trade unions in the United States, and its affiliates, representing in excess of 12.5 million U.S. workers, states: “On behalf of the 12.5 million members and 55 affiliates of the AFL-CIO, we are proud to support the Cork Mother Jones Festival. America is a nation built by immigrants like Mother Jones whose Spirit lit a flame in our hearts”.
A second proclamation, from the Illinois AFL-CIO Board, “We are honored she (Mother Jones) chose Illinois as her final resting place. We give special thanks and recognition to the annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, for keeping her Irish Spirit alive in her birthplace, the Shandon area of Cork City, County Cork, Ireland. We thank you for sharing this grand individual with us. We are a grateful nation and a better one thanks to her. Blessed are all of you for keeping her spirit alive”.
The third proclamation is from the United Mineworkers of America, a union that Mother Jones had a close association with during her life. It includes a personal word from the union’s International President, Mr. Cecil E. Roberts: “I, Cecil E. Roberts, International President of the UMWA, proclaim on behalf of a grateful miners’ nation, its friends and allies, that we will never forget this remarkable Irish-born woman, who showed us how to fight against injustice with every breath, fiber and essence of her being. We give special thanks and recognition to the remarkable annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival for keeping her Irish Spirit alive in her birthplace, County Cork, Ireland, in the Shandon area of Cork City”.