Skip to content

Dedication set for restored monument honoring legendary labor leader

MOUNT OLIVE – Illinois labor leaders and elected officials will gather Sunday in Mount Olive to celebrate the restoration of an 80-ton granite obelisk and bronze statues memorializing the celebrated labor leader Mary Harris Jones, fondly known as Mother Jones.

The restoration will be paid for with nearly $70,000 raised in an AFL-CIO-led pledge drive and a $43,000 state tourism grant secured by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill. The effort was supported by the Illinois Labor History Society, Mother Jones Foundation and United Mine Workers.

The event takes place at noon at the Union Miners Cemetery, near the corner of North Lake Street and Old Reservoir Road in Mount Olive.

The commemoration celebration is free to the public.

Mother Jones was an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She then helped coordinate major strikes and cofounded the Industrial Workers of the World.

She lived to be 100 and is buried alongside miners who had died in the 1898 Battle of Virden. The story goes that she called these miners, killed in strike-related violence, “her boys.”

Leave a Comment