Who is Mother Jones?

Mary G. Harris Jones (1837 (baptized) – November 30, 1930), known as Mother Jones from 1897 onwards, was an Irish-born American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent union organizercommunity organizer, and activist. She helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. In 1871 Jones, the widow of an iron-moulder who had died in 1867 in an epidemic in Memphis, Tennessee, lost all her possessions in the great Chicago fire. She turned to the Knights of Labor for assistance, attracted by their campaign for improved working conditions. By 1890 she had herself become a highly visible figure in the American labour movement. She traveled across the country, both organizing for the United Mine Workers and orating on her own, supporting strikes, and galvanizing public support for legislation to prohibit child labor.

The Mother Jones Community Foundation is inspired by and works in the spirit of Mother Jones by holding politicians and industries operating in Appalachia to a higher standard. Learn more about her work here.