Robert L. Peters

28 September 2009

A respectful nod to Mother Jones, 1837-1930

Mother_Jones_Robert_Shetterly_2003

 Silver Spring, Maryland

Born in Cork, Ireland in the 1830s, the prominent socialist and community organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones lost her husband and four children to a yellow fever epidemic in Tennessee in 1867, and then lost her home in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. She then spent the rest of her life fighting for worker’s rights as an activist and tireless labor organizer.

Frequently imprisoned for subversive speech and inciting “riots,” Mother Jones was hailed by her critics as the “most dangerous woman in America” and was denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as “the grandmother of all agitators,” a moniker she seemed to favour—the feisty matriarch also liked to refer to herself as a “hellraiser.”

Since 1976, her name has graced the masthead of the award-winning magazine Mother Jones, known for its independent stance and investigative reporting. You can listen to The Autobiography of Mother Jones on LibriVox, here.

Image: a portrait of Mother Jones by Robert Shetterly from his series Americans Who Tell The Truth.

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”

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