A virtual museum and education site about the amazing labor agitator, Mother Jones
Buy the DVD(see right)
Mother Jones: America's Most Dangerous Woman is a new documentary about the amazing labor heroine, Mary Harris Jones, known as "Mother" Jones.
Mother Jones mobilized thousands of workers in struggles for justice in the early 20th century.
The documentary shows how Mother Jones' organizing career influenced the history of early 20th century United States.
Featuring historian Elliott Gorn, leading biographer of Mother Jones, it shows how Mother Jones transformed personal and political grief and rage into an effective persona that led workers into battles that changed the course of history.
This documentary depicts her life and times in a 24 minute film, ideal for classroom, union meetings and other events.
It is sure to spark discussions and reflections.
For labor activists such as Mother Jones, labor and civil rights such as freedom of speech and assembly were often a goal rather than a reality. The documentary evokes the terrible conditions and labor oppression that motivated her to travel across the country, mobilizing thousands to fight back.
A "music video" of the 1914 "Ludlow massacre" and Mother Jones' role in these events brings to life a forgotten vista of brutalities that immigrant laborers in the U.S. faced a century ago.
As Mother Jones notes about the brutal “Ludlow massacre”: “The workers lost because they had only the Constitution. The other side had bayonets.”
The use of hired mercenaries and public police forces to brutalize and suppress workers rights was a common condition of the period. While we are taught that the U.S. has guaranteed basic freedoms, the history of this period reveals an oft-buried history of the fragile status of freedom for labor in this country.
The documentary includes rare photos as well as the only existing live footage of her at age "100" proclaiming she is still a radical, still awaits the day that the people will "replace this moneyed civilization," and "longs for the day when labor will have the destination of the nation in her own hands."
The documentary was produced by Rosemary Feurer.
It was co-directed by Feurer and Laura Vazquez.
Feurer is a labor historian who teaches at Northern Illinois University. She is the author of Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950
Vazquez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois Universitynois University