As Mary, a young girl living in Ireland the year the potato crop was destroyed, the future Mother Jones learned first-hand about unfairness. Her family emigrated to Canada in the 1850s, where she was able to attend teachers' college. A teaching job then took her to Tennessee, where she married an iron molder and had four children. Her husband, George Jones, urged his fellow workers to join the union, but in 1867 he and all of their children died from yellow fever (a tragedy glossed over in the text). Deciding to carry on her husband's work, Mary became a passionate advocate for workers' rights. For over sixty years, she lobbied throughout the United States, even landing in jail several times. Her unorthodox approaches (arming women with brooms and mops to fight off scabs; marching children to President Theodore Roosevelt's home) made her all the more loved by workers...and feared by those in power. Her unflagging determination to see workers of all ages (especially children) treated fairly, paved the way for minimum wage and the outlawing of child labor. This entry in the "Graphic Library Biographies" series is a well-researched effort documenting a worthy heroine and includes the helpful feature of highlighting direct quotations in yellow. Unfortunately, the unflattering illustrations have far less appeal than the subject herself. Furthermore, this heroic woman deserves a more thorough exploration than this format inherently allows; but if this book generates further interest in Mother Jones, it has served its purpose well.
Connie Colwell Miller is a writer, editor, and teacher who lives and works in Mankato, Minnesota. She studied writing at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to earn her Masters in Fine Arts in creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she won an award for her poetry manuscript. She has written over 25 books for kids and published parenting essays and poetry online and in journals around the country. She spends her free time goofing around with her husband and three young, highly spirited children.
Working Class Struggles 4
Mops and Miners' Wives 10
The Working Children 14
The Most Dangerous Woman in America 20
More about Mother Jones 28
Internet Sites 30
Read More 31