Learn about the most dangerous woman in America, and why she chose this location for her final resting place. For a fuller version of this tour, go to the website link below.
Mary Harris Jones (1837-1930) was an Irish immigrant who endured great loss and tragedies. But through organizing in the labor and socialist movement, she became a beloved folk heroine, a figure of legend and lore. After 1899, she devoted most of her organizing to the United Mine Workers of America.
When a Congressman asked her address, she replied, My home is where the workers are fighting injustice. She had no home for 25 years, and instead traveled across the country, wherever there was a struggle.
Jones chose Union Miners Cemetery as her final resting place because miners in this area had in 1899 decided to commemorate the role of the ordinary worker in changing history.
Mother Jones was a legend in her own time--a tiny steel-blue-eyed woman who
conjured courage in working-class people to take on the corporate “pirates.” There
was truth to this legend. Jones faced down bayonets, stared fearlessly into the
eyes of the coal operators’ hired guns, and defied troops sent to subdue
the immigrant working class. She became a legend by organizing entire
communities. She inspired people to fight, to resist, to refuse.
In 1901, when young
textile children in New Jersey launched a strike, they expected Mother Jones to
appear over the hills: “They say that strikers always win when they have Mother
Jones to help them,” they vouched. In looking for Mother Jones, they found the
power of collective action, the legend in themselves. The legend only deepened
when Jones fearlessly took on the challenge of organizing West Virginia. She
became known as The Most Dangerous Woman in America.