Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living

As Labor Day approaches, Bishop Paul Marshall writes about one of the labor movement’s patron saints:

Mother Jones worked for better conditions for miners and their families for 50 years. President Theodore Roosevelt had reasons not to care for her: she led a march of children from Philadelphia to his Oyster Bay home protesting child labor. Their placards – “We want to go to school, not to the mines” – suitably embarrassed the president, but he would not meet with the marchers.

They went back to their miserable existence leading mules, operating doors, and sorting coal in the breakers. Mother Jones kept on working for children. Her subsequent children’s marches prompted the U. S. Senate to investigate child labor.

Up and down the Appalachians, Mary Harris Jones spoke for, was jailed for, and worked for miners seeking improvements in their working conditions that you and I would consider minimal at best.

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