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.

Illinois Senator praises Cork festival

The Cork Mother Jones Festival Committee has received a warm message of support and encouragement from Illinois Senator Andy Manar.

Senator Andy Manar

Sen. Andy Manar

Senator Manar in a thoughful and positive  message to the Cork Mother Jones Committee for the Spirit of Mother Jones festival states that “you have all my deepest respect for the work you have done on behalf of Mother Jones and I share in your admiration of this great woman from County Cork, Ireland”

“I believe your festival is wonderful as it attracts people from all over the world and stands tallest among other known Mother Jones Festivals. I’d welcome a similar event in my district. Your festival sets a very high bar for other to reach and you should be extremely proud of that”
Letter received from US Senator Andy Manar (D), Illinois

Letter received from US Senator Andy Manar (D), Illinois

The Cork Mother Jones Committee acknowledges and supports the huge effort being made by the Unions, the Illinois Labour History Society and the Mother Jones Foundation to preserve and restore the monument over the grave of Mother Jones in Mount Olive cemetery. The restoration project will ensure that this monument over her final resting place will remain for ever as a fitting symbol of positive action for social justice which the spirit of Mother Jones inspires in thousands of people across the world.

Prof. Rosemary Feurer set to return to this years Spirit of Mother Jones festival

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Prof. Rosemary Feurer visits Cork’s historic Shandon Steeple in 2012.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to confirm that Professor Rosemary Feurer, who attended the inaugural Mother Jones festival is returning to the 2014 festival.

Rosemary is Associate Professor of History at the Dept. of History, Northern Illinois University. Her fields of study include the United States – 20th Century, Labour and Social Movements.

Rosemary will present a lecture entitled “Get off your knees”: James Connolly, Jim Larkin and Mother Jones in the Fight for a Global Labour Movement”, at the Firkin Crane Centre on Friday 1st August at 3pm.

“James Connolly, Jim Larkin, and Mother Jones were leading transnational organisers a century ago who learned from each other.  Connolly’s decision to come to the U.S. was in part inspired by the grounding in direct action labour movement struggles that Jones had helped to innovate. Long before James Connolly or James Larkin came to the U.S., the Irish workers and socialist movement that they led caught Mother Jones’ attention. The Irish and U.S. labour movement came to use the same language and inflection as they grew together. The similarity of language and purpose in these leaders, despite factional distinctions in their organisational loyalties, allows us to see how the radicals of a century ago contributed to the grounding of a global labour movement.

 

Both Connolly and Jones were members and speakers for the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World. And they both meant the “World” part of the title, even after Jones had stopped paying dues to the organization. They thought of themselves as being part of the same global movement that would allow workers democratic decision making and ownership and direction of human civilization. They used notions of “civilizing” influence of socialism and democracy.  

 

Both deeply believed that there was no one more suited to controlling the economic destiny of the nation than those who produced the wealth of the nation. They were comrades in the struggle for workers power”.

 

Rosemary Feurer, has been studying the links and connections between these activists and will discuss her important findings and reflections at this lecture, which is co-sponsored by the School of History at University College Cork.

She manages the largest website on labour history in the USA, www.laborhistorylinks.org and also manages www.motherjonesmuseum.org  Her publications include Radical Unionism in the Midwest 1900-1950 from Working Class in American History Series in 2007.

Rosemary’s award winning documentary which she produced and co-directed,  “Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman” was shown at the 2012 Cork Mother Jones Festival and Rosemary will again present this documentary on the opening night of the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival at 6pm.

2014 is the 100th Anniversary of the Ludlow massacre. Rosemary will also contribute at our remembrance of this important event in American history; “Then came Ludlow and the nation heard” a discussion along with Jim Green which will take place on Thursday evening at 7.15 at the Firkin Crane.

Illinois to get new Mother Jones museum

The town of Mount Olive, Illinois is the resting place of Mother Jones, born Mary Harris in Cork, Ireland in 1837.  Mount Olive and surrounding areas of Illinois were devastated by a tornado in May 2013 and major damage was done to homes and public buildings. This included Mount Olive City Hall which is to be replaced.  The good news for followers of Mother Jones is that beside the new City Hall is to be a brand new museum dedicated to Mother Jones.    The story featured in the Illinois State Register-Journal, a local newspaper on 29th December and the story has now been picked up by the Cork Evening Echo.

You can read the article in the Illinois State Register Journal here and click the photo to read the Evening Echo article. http://www.sj-r.com/article/20131229/NEWS/131229617/0/SEARCH/?tag=2

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Mt. Olive, resting place of Mother Jones, counts cost of Tornado

Mount Olive is arguably best known as the last resting place of Mary Harris, Mother Jones and the victims of the Virden Massacre of 1898. However Mount Olive was recently in the news for other reasons. Like many surrounding districts Mount Olive suffered major damage in the May 2013 Tornado outbreaks. Our thanks to Patty and Don Schmeder who sent us these photographs of the damage caused by the tornado. Our best wishes to the people of Mount Olive and other areas damaged by the tornadoes. Hopefully they will be able to rebuild soon.

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Mt. Olive Tarnado

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