First, I would like to acknowledge that on May 1, 1889, International Workers’ Congress declared May 1 as a public holiday, also known as May Day. Mary Harris Jones, a.k.a. Mother Jones, was actually born on August 1. However, Mother Jones later claimed May Day as her birthday to show solidarity to all workers around the world.
Mother Jones is known as the “Mother of Agitators,” having co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. After losing her husband and four children to yellow fever, Jones moved from Memphis, Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois where she became a dressmaker. Unfortunately, in 1871, Jones lost both her shop and home to the Great Chicago Fire started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
By the time Jones reached her late 50s, she became a fierce ally for workers’ rights and became known as Mother Jones, a white-haired radical labor organizer. Jones focused a great deal of energy in advocating for miner’s rights. By 1902 she was called the “most dangerous woman in America” for the success she achieved in organizing miners against the mine owners.
In 1970, what I would call a civil rights publication, Mother Jones magazine started and was named after Mary Harris Jones. Click here to take a look at the bi-monthly publication. Happy May Day and Happy Birthday to Mother Jones. Workers of the World Unite!
Quote of the day:
My address is like my shoes. It travels with me. I abide where there is a fight against wrong.–Mother Jones