Labor of Love Day

Reblogged from Lily’s Blackboard

From everything I’ve read about Mother Jones, she wasn’t a very nice person. That is if by “nice” you mean all smiles and hugs and happy talk. Mary Jones was a hard woman to get along with and she lived a hard life. She was an immigrant from Ireland who came to the United States to escape the deadly Irish famine. She became a teacher and was paid $8 a month – starvation wages even in 1859. She married a union organizer, George Jones, and started her family only to watch her husband and all four of her tiny children die in a yellow fever epidemic. The little dress shop she had opened and everything she owned went up in smoke four years later in the Great Chicago Fire.

No, Mary Jones was not going to waste time with polite happy talk. She saw that after tragedies, while politicians were still trying to pass some too little too late legislation that would inevitably be too little too late to help suffering families, the unions would be organizing to pass out food and clothing the next day. Mary “Mother” Jones decided to dedicate her life to the working families who lived on the edge of poverty and devastation. She decided to be the champion of people like her; people who were exploited, put in danger, and who were kept in line by fear of losing the meager wages they had. She decided to be a union organizer like her husband. Read more>>