'Mother' Mary Harris Jones, circa 1910.
Close Window

Photograph of 'Mother' Mary Harris Jones, circa 1910.

Credit: Image donated by Corbis-Bettmann

Born in Cork, Ireland in the 1830s, Mary Harris Jones lost her husband and four children to a yellow fever epidemic in Tennessee in 1867, and then lost her home in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. She spent the rest of her life fighting for worker's rights as an activist and labor organizer. Frequently imprisoned for subversive speech and inciting "riots," "Mother" Jones was once hailed by her critics as the "most dangerous woman in America." Learning that she had been denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as "the grandmother of all agitators," she said, "I hope to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators."

Back to Top