Mother Jones: 1837-1930
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837-1930) was active principally as an advocate for coal miners and against child labor. This album contains images of her in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia.

She came to Washington, D.C. numerous times during her career to meet with labor leaders, lobby elected officials and support labor unions. She notably supported the organization of transit workers in Washington, D.C. and nearby Northern Virginia in 1916-17.

She moved to Washington, D.C. and lived with the widow of Knights of Labor leader Terrence Powderly at 503 Rock Creek Church Road NW, Washington, D.C. in what is now the Catholic Worker Dorothy Day House.

In her later years she lived with Walter and Lillie Mae Burgess on a farm on Powder Mill Road in Adelphi Maryland where the site is identified by a historical marker.

She became active in a great upsurge of labor activism in the 1880s and assisted with the Knights of Labor. She was active in the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Party and later the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She was at times critical and other times supportive of communist activities. She was criticized by many on the left for her lack of support for women’s suffrage saying, “"You don't need the vote to raise hell!"

Her politics were often ill-defined and in 1924 supported Republican candidate Calvin Coolidge for president against Socialist Party-supported Progressive candidate Robert LaFollette and conservative Democratic candidate John W. Davis of West Virginia. Davis earned her ire for his role in suppressing the United Mine Workers in West Virginia.

She was known as a fiery orator who could rally workers with phrases like, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.,” She was called “the most dangerous woman in America” in 1902 by West Virginia district attorney Reese Blizzard in Jone’s trial for ignoring an injunction against mine workers holding meetings.

Jones died in November, 1930 in Adelphi, Md. months after celebrating her 93rd birthday (she claimed to be 100, but evidence is pretty strong that she was 93). She is buried in Union Miners Cemetery in Mount Olive, Illinois, alongside miners who had died in the 1898 Battle of Virden.

Plans exist to create a small museum in Mt. Olive to document her life.
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