*UPDATED – new links at the end.*

Mary Harris Jones lost her husband and her children to yellow fever. A few years later she lost her dressmaking shop to the great Chicago fire. Instead of retreating from life in the wake of these tragedies, she dedicated her life to the cause of labor. At a time when child labor was rampant, when coal miners and mill workers routinely lost body parts and their lives and worked long, long hours for little pay, Mary Jones worked to organize labor to fight for better conditions. She became known to the miners she fought tirelessly for as Mother Jones. She was arrested many times and labeled “the most dangerous women in America” by the attorney general of West Virginia. But she is perhaps best known for leading the Children’s March with 100 child workers from the Philadelphia mills to New York City and President Theodore Roosevelt’s home on Long Island that, although the Roosevelt refused to meet with her, drew public attention and criticism to the inhumane child labor in textile mills.

Here are some links to some writing by Mother Jones:

Civilization in Southern Mills


A letter to the McNamara brothers in San Quentin Prison