Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm not a humanitarian, I'm a hell-raiser

I have been on break for the winter holidays, and was able to record four chapters of the Autobiography of Mother Jones for LibriVox. One chapter, Victory in West Virginia, made me cry when she described how the mine owners tried to quell the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strikes in 1912 using force. One man had his feet shot off as he tried to roust his family in the middle of the night when gunmen came to the tent camps of the strikers.

A short biography can be read here, at the Illinois Labor History Society, and here, at the AFL-CIO.

I did a little more research, and found an audio file from the Library of Congress collection that referenced Mother Jones, and her visits to coal country. Mae Bongalis was just a child when Mother Jones came to organize the miners, and in this clip she remembers the kindness shown to her during a meeting.

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