Mother Jones inducted into National Mining Hall of Fame | VailDaily.com

Mother Jones inducted into National Mining Hall of Fame

Daily staff report
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Mother Jones was an activist whose work touched many movements of the Progressive Era, including the workers' movement. Today, Mother Jones magazine bears her namesake.
Special to the Daily

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones became the 248th inductee into the National Mining Hall of Fame last month at the 32nd annual National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Denver.

Now, the museum, located in Leadville, is showing an induction video and hosting a discussion on the progressive activist with James Walsh. Walsh is an associate professor of political science at University of Colorado, Denver, and author of “Irish Denver,” about the importance of Jones’ induction and the continued relevance of her legacy today.

The presentation will be at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, 120 West 9th St., Leadville, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Reserve a free ticket by calling 719-486-1229. Donations are appreciated and will benefit the miner’s memorial in Evergreen Cemetery.

Who is Mother Jones?

The history of mining, like the history of industrialization everywhere, brought exploitation of workers. Fierce competition among the mines during America’s industrial revolution made it one of the most unscrupulous businesses in America as mountaineers, immigrants, and children of newly-freed slaves labored in wretched conditions.

Whether it was fighting for child labor laws, building unions, or organizing women of broom and mop brigades to run off the “scabs,” Irish immigrant Mother Jones, vagabond agitator and self-proclaimed hell-raiser, traveled everywhere including Ludlow, Trinidad, and Walsenburg, Colorado, demanding a living wage and safe work conditions for workers. Arrested time and again, she was labeled The Most Dangerous Woman in America by contemporaries for her ability to organize workers and lead them to strike for fair wages and safe working conditions.

Mother Jones’ theatrics and fiery tongue made headlines across the country and brought unprecedented attention to the plight of the working man. Her tireless efforts were fundamental to the growth and development of the United Mine Workers and led to many of the labor laws we take for granted today.

About the speaker

James Walsh, PhD, is an associate professor in political science at the University of Colorado Denver, where he has taught for 22 years. He specializes in labor, immigration, and Irish diaspora studies.

Walsh is a co-author of “Irish Denver” and author of the soon-to-be-published “Michael Mooney and the Leadville Irish.”

For the past year, Walsh has been part of an effort to memorialize those buried in unmarked graves in the Old Catholic section of Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery, where an estimated 1,500 people are buried, 70% of them Irish. At the talk, Walsh will provide an update on this effort and its anticipated groundbreaking for the memorial.