Mary G. Harris Jones, commonly known as Mother Jones, was an American dresser and teacher born in Ireland in 1837. She had participated in many strikes and was one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World. Harris was also an activist who took part in community projects in various communities. She was famously known as one of the most dangerous and influential people in America due to how she influenced mine workers' strikes in the country.
Five facts about Mary G. Harris Jones
She was baptized on August 1, 1837, presumably right after when she was born.
Her family was among the most affected during the Great Famine, which occurred in Ireland during the 1800s, hence their migration.
She went to the United States of America when she was ten years old when the famine was at its peak in Ireland.
She studied at Toronto Normal School and did not graduate from the school, despite it being tuition-free.
In 1867, her husband and four children died of yellow fever, and she decided that she would become a union organizer throughout America.
Inspirational quotes from Mary G. Harris Jones
"The first thing is to raise hell. That's always the first thing to do when facing injustice, and they usually feel powerless. That's what I usually do in my fight for the working class in the society".
"I am never afraid of the sword, scaffold, or the pen."
"I pray and hope that I will live long enough to be the great grandmother of all agitators in the world."
"All women in the world need to realize that they have every attribute to become and do whatever they want to accomplish their dreams. However, the problem is that they allow the capitalist to make them believe that they wouldn't be ladylike in society".
"I once asked a man in prison what he had done to be arrested and said that he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him that he would have become a senator in the United States if he had stolen the railway line. Say no to oppression from capitalists."
"I have never voted in this country, but I have raised hell all over. You never require a vote to raise hell in whatever is displeasing you. You only need convictions and a voice.”
Keep Active Young Minds Engaged
Sign up for FREE Printable Activities delivered straight to your inbox.
Mary G. Harris Jones Biography
Harris was born in Cork, Ireland, to Richard and Helen Harris in 1837. Her parents were devout Roman Catholics who worked as farmers for their main source of income. When they migrated to North America, they were criticized and discriminated against due to their religious beliefs, especially in Canada. She was ten years old when they escaped the great famine in Ireland.
Husband and Children
She was married and had four children, three girls and a boy. However, they all died due to yellow fever in 1867 in Memphis.
The death of her husband and kids, concurrently followed by the destruction of her dressmaking business in 1871 due to the Chicago Fires, marked the turning point in her life.
Mission and Work
She joined the Knights of Labor, an organization for workers, and started organizing strikes. The strikes initially failed due to the police shooting and killing protestors, but the final blow came when a bomb was thrown at them during a Chicago demonstration.
She then decided to join the United Mines Workers, and she encouraged all those involved in the strike not to relent when police erected barriers on roads. The union demonstrated that the men working in mines deserved a wage that would allow their wives to stay at home and not work. As an organizer, she led the wives and children of the poor people to demand better pays. Hence, she has declared the most dangerous woman in America due to her persuading men to deserve more than what they received. In 1901, she also took part in a strike to give adult women huge wages for them to pay school fees for their children.
Due to her efforts in championing fairness in society, a plaque was erected in Cork on March 8 2010, which also coincided with International Women's Day. In 1984, she was inducted into the women's hall of fame for championing better working conditions for workers during her time.
She was also inducted into the National Miners Hall of Fame due to her contribution in defending the mining workers in 2019. Her legacy is also portrayed in different films such as The American Songbird, where the line "She will be coming round the mountain" references her efforts in unionizing all miners in the coal mining deposits around the world.
Become a Lottie Super Fan!- Be the first to hear about new Lottie Dolls- Help to inspire the latest Lottie Dolls and Accessories- Suggest new ideas & activities you’d love to see- Take part in exclusive launch team competitions
*Unsubscribe at any time! We will never share or sell your data.