Mother Jones inducted into Mining Hall of Fame

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The well-known Mother Jones historian, Rosemary Feurer of Northern Illinois University, reports that the great Labor leader has received another honor – being inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville, Colo., in September.

The Hall’s stated mission is “To tell the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public.” Feurer said the induction indicates that the National Mining Hall of Fame is becoming more open to acknowledging miners and their families.

“The irony is that Mother Jones is still agitating, still breaking down barriers,” she said. “The historian James Loewen criticized the Mining Hall of Fame a few years ago for inducting mostly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant men, who were disproportionately engineers, executives and wealthy mine owners.

“‘Where were the miners,’ Loewen asked. ‘Where were the immigrants and workers of color, the Labor organizers, the women? Why was there no commemoration to the thousands who died in the mines?’ ”

Feurer concludes: “The Mining Hall of Fame has become a bit more inclusive in recent years, a little more attuned to worker exploitation … and is paying more attention to the issues Mother Jones long agitated against.”

Speaking at the recent Mother Jones Dinner in Springfield, Ill., Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, in the middle of her fiery keynote speech at the Mother Jones Dinner, Association of Flight Attendants said:

“The capitalists say there is no need of Labor organizing, but the fact that they themselves are continually organizing shows their real beliefs.

“The capitalists want the most labor for the least money. The laborers want the most money for the least labor. Workers produce wealth and build the world’s palaces, but they neither use the wealth nor dwell in the palaces.

“If you would only realize that you hold the solution of the whole problem in your own hands, you could settle the whole question easily.

“If, for instance, instead of striking in small groups, every industry in America were to hold up, the capitalists would be obliged to yield to any and all demands, for the world could simply not go on.”

The statement was followed by loud applause from the appreciative audience. But only then did Nelson reveal they were not her own words. She had quoted from a speech Mother Jones made in 1906 in North Carolina.


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