"I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there, and he said he had stolen a loaf of bread. I told him if he had stolen a railroad, he'd be a U.S. Senator." Mother Jones.
Mary Harris Jones, a self-proclaimed "hell raiser", (known to the labor movement as simply “Mother Jones”) worked to organize workers all over the eastern United States. Arrested often but never bowed, she continued to fight for worker rights and child labor laws until her death on November 30, 1930. Her famous words, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living”, still echo throughout the US labor movement some 80 years later.
A new virtual museum of her life (http://motherjonesmuseum.org) is still being built but already offers a wonderful insight into this most infamous of labor organizers. Included are free downloads of her autobiography and several newspaper articles of her day covering her speeches, trials and tribulations. Also, available for a $10 purchase is a 24 minute DVD documentary of her life which includes live footage just before her death at age 100 of Mother proclaiming she “longs for the day when labor will have the destination of the nation in her own hands.”
Mother Jones lies in the Union Miners Cemetery in Mount Olive, Illinois alongside miners who died in the Virden Riot of 1898. These miners and others like them were “her boys”.