Irish Ambassador to US visits Mother Jones’ grave in Mount Olive, Illinois

Ambassador at Monument

Ambassador Daniel Mulhall at the Mother Jones monument in Mount Olive

Irish Ambassador visits Mother Jones Monument to learn of Cork born Mother Jones

The Irish Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall has paid a historic visit to the final resting place of Cork born Mother Jones (born Mary Harris in Cork, Ireland in 1837)

Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, met with Rosemary Feurer, Northern Illinois University Professor and Director of the Mother Jones Heritage Project on May 4, 2018, at the historic Mother Jones Monument/Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois. His mission was to learn more about the history of this renowned figure and the special place where she is buried.

Ambassador Mulhall with Prof. Rosemary Feurer

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, 1837-1930, was born in Cork, Ireland and was once known as the “most dangerous woman in America” as she fought for labor rights.

The meeting was arranged by Ireland’s Consul General to the Midwest, Brian O’Brien, who was present at the Heritage Project’s dedication of a historical marker to Jones in December 2017, southbound I-55 Coalfield Rest area adjacent to historic Route 66.  Ambassador Mulhall was in St. Louis, Missouri last week, when a break in his schedule allowed for a trip to this the monument, which is about an hour’s drive from St. Louis.

Ambassador Mulhall was impressed with the personal story of Mary Harris Jones, of her role in United States history. He remarked that he had been unfamiliar with her before, but found her a truly memorable. “It’s hard for us to contemplate the suffering” Mary Harris Jones endured as she experienced the Great Hunger, then further hardships as immigrants in the United States. It’s important to note that she did not give up, he suggested, and seemed to have an “indefatigable spirit.”

Mulhall 2

Ambassador Mulhall viewing the display boards produced by the Cork Mother Jones Committee

Ed Becker, President of Union Miners Cemetery board gifted Mulhall with the Miners’ Angel CD he produced of Mother Jones songs.  Mulhall was truly enthused by the CD, recognizing some of the artists such as Andy Irvine, who performed at the 2012 inaugural Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

Also present at the meeting was Judy Simpson, board member of the Mother Jones Heritage Project, and Kate Klimut, project volunteer. Mike Katchmar, treasurer of the cemetery board, was also present at the meeting.

Ambassador Mulhall and Consul General O’Brien committed to helping the aims of the Heritage Project through the Embassy’s offices. He announced a grant to help fund the Project’s next historical marker on I-55 near Waggoner, Illinois. He also pledged to be present at the dedication of the marker and to promote knowledge of Mother Jones history in the United States through the United States Embassy.

Ambassador Mulhall with local friends of Mother Jones at Mount Olive

Mayor Skertich arranged a visit to the small Mt. Olive Mother Jones Museum. There Mulhall took much interest in the boards currently on display that were from Cork’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

The visit has been watched with great interest by Mother Jones enthusiasts in Ireland.   James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee expressed delight at the visit of the Irish Ambassador to the USA, Mr. Daniel Mulhall to the grave of Mother Jones at the miners’ cemetery in Mount Olive, Illinois on 4th May 2018

“It just again demonstrates the growing acknowledgement by increasing numbers of people of the unique role of Cork woman Mother Jones as a trade union leader over many decades in the USA and her contribution to the rights of workers in America.

She was indeed an extraordinary woman in her day and it is really wonderful to see her life and achievements being acknowledged by the Irish Ambassador, Mr. Mulhall during his visit to her resting place at Mount Olive.”

Ambassador meets “Mother Jones” with Rosemary Feurer

Stated Mr. Nolan.

The Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school will take place in the Shandon Historic Quarter from Wednesday August 1st to Saturday August 4th 2018.

 

Unions representing millions of U.S. workers salute Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO Proclamation

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”.

AFL-CIO Illinois

AFL-CIO Illinois Proclamation

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”.

UMWA

United Mineworkers of America – Proclamation