Cork to commemorate 'the most dangerous woman in America'

Mon, Jul 2, 2012, 01:00

A LEADING figure in the history of the American labour movement is to be commemorated in her native Cork later this summer with a three-day festival marking the 175th anniversary of her birth.

Mother Jones – who lived to the age of 93, and was once described as “the most dangerous woman in America” because of her union activities – was born Mary Harris near the North Cathedral at the top of Shandon Street on Cork’s northside in 1837.

Her family survived the Great Famine and emigrated to the US where, having settled in Tennessee, she witnessed the horrors of the American civil war before moving to Chicago where, at the age of 60, she became involved in the fledgling US labour movement.

A co-founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, the “Wobblies”, she was active in organising union campaigns in Alabama, West Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, and counted, among her friends Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.

Now Mother Jones is to be remembered in er native Cork with a commemorative festival of events including a lecture by her biographer, Prof Elliot J Gorn, a documentary by filmmaker Rosemary Feurer, and a concert featuring Andy Irvine and others.

The series of events – which take place from July 31st to August 2nd at the Firkin Crane, St Anne’s Shandon and the Maldron Hotel – will also include the unveiling of a special memorial plaque to Mother Jones at John Redmond Street near Shandon.

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