By CARL GREEN
Mt. Olive, IL – For the second year, the Mother Jones Museum will hold a May Day Event to celebrate the 180th birthday of the famous union organizer.
Mary Harris “Mother Jones” chose May Day to be her birthday to represent her own rebirth in the Labor Movement. As “The Most Dangerous Woman in America,” she fought for an eight-hour workday, safe working conditions, fair pay for hard work and an end to child labor, among other causes.
The event, called “A Celebration for Agitators,” begins at Union Miners Cemetery just northwest of the town off Lake Street at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 with a wreath-laying ceremony at Mother Jones’ gravesite monument.
Free tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum at 215 E. Main. A fundraising luncheon will be served at Tilley’s Tavern, 303 E. Main with limited seating at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
LUNCH, ENTERTAINMENT AND DISCUSSION
The birthday party will be at Tilley’s with the luncheon, featuring pasties – the sturdy lunch of coal miners.
Pasties are half-circle pastries filled with meat and potatoes that miners could take with them into the mines. Sometimes, their wives would add a little pie filling at one end for dessert.
Dale Hannah and Erin O’Toole, known as the Wildflower Conspiracy, will provide music at noon.
Artist Lindsay Hand and documentarian Mari-Lynn Evans will lead a discussion on the meaning of Mother Jones at 1 p.m.
Organizers also hope to show all or parts of Evans’ award-winning documentary about the coal industry, “Blood on the Mountain.”
Hand was commissioned to paint the welcome exhibit at the door of the museum, and she will unveil the work at a special reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on that Friday at the museum with the unveiling at 6 p.m. She earlier painted a series on the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado. Donations of $10 a person will be collected at the door.
IF YOU GO
Mt. Olive is 47 miles northeast of St. Louis on Interstate 55. For more information, go online to motherjonesmuseum.org.