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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Raymond in Montgomery County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Mother Jones, Coalfield Organizer, 1837-1930

 
 
Mother Jones, Coalfield Organizer, 1837-1930 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 26, 2020
1. Mother Jones, Coalfield Organizer, 1837-1930 Marker
Inscription.  Mary Harris was born in Cork, Ireland in 1837. Her family fled to Toronto during the famine. She moved to Memphis in 1860, married George Jones, an iron molder and proud union man. They had four children together.

Mary Jones moved to Chicago, worked as a seamstress, but lost everything in the 1871 fire. She was an obscure working-class immigrant, a poor widow. But by the 1890s, she joined a growing movement for worker rights. She transformed herself into Mother Jones, a symbol of resistance, and helped to shape a new style of unionism. She organized for the United Mine Workers and the Socialist Party.

No one more successfully moved workingmen and women to fight for better wages and conditions. The novelist Upton Sinclair wrote, "she had the fire of indignation - she was the walking wrath of God." Author Meridel LeSueur thought of her as the true mother of workers, "the emboldened and blazing defender of all her sons and daughters."

Mother Jones was especially beloved among the half-million men who mined coal in states like Illinois. They fought bloody wars here, and in Colorado and West Virginia, and changed the
Mother Jones, Coalfield Organizer, 1837-1930 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 26, 2020
2. Mother Jones, Coalfield Organizer, 1837-1930 Marker
Wide view of the marker, located in front of the Coalfield Rest Area (northbound off I-55)
course of history.

Before she died, Mother Jones asked to be buried with her "brave boys" slain in the 1898 Virden Massacre. She is buried in Mount Olive's Union Miners Cemetery in the heart of Illinois Coal Country.

"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!"
-Mother Jones

(aside:)

Mother Jones encouraged solidarity in order to overcome divisions based on race and immigrant status.
 
Erected 2018 by Mother Jones Heritage Project, Illinois Labor History Society, United Mine Workers of America, Illinois Humanities, Government of Ireland, Illinois State Historical Society, and Northern Illinois University.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersIndustry & CommerceLabor UnionsWomen. In addition, it is included in the Illinois State Historical Society series list.
 
Location. 39° 20.787′ N, 89° 38.466′ W. Marker is near Raymond, Illinois, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 55 at milepost 65. Marker is located in front of the Coalfield Rest Area, which is off of northbound Interstate 55. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Raymond IL 62560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Coalfields of Illinois
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(approx. 0.4 miles away); Shrine of Our Lady of the Highways (approx. one mile away); Endless Nights (approx. 11.2 miles away); Litchfield, Illinois (approx. 11.6 miles away); Fine Dining on Rte 66 (approx. 11.8 miles away); The Ariston Café, Litchfield, Illinois (approx. 11.8 miles away); The Vic Suhling Sign (approx. 11.8 miles away); Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center (approx. 11.8 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 27, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 47 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 27, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 5, 2021