Thursday, May 1, 2008

On May 1

On this day in ...
... 1830, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was born -- or so she said. Some historians now believe she was in fact born on Aug. 1, 1837. It's their view that the labor agitator took the unusual step of claiming to be 7 years older than she was in order to cultivate a grandmotherly image, to establish herself as the matriarch of the labor movement. The reason that Jones (left) moved her date of birth up several months ought to be obvious: today is May Day, the date on which workers around the world have been marching for labor rights since the Chicago march of 1886 on which we've posted. What is certain is this: Jones was born into a tenant farming family in Cork, Ireland, immigrated to the United States, and became a labor organizer after losing her husband and children to yellow fever and her dressmaking shop to the Chicago fire. The transnational foremother of IntLawGrrl Johanna E. Bond, Jones led many a May Day march before her death in 1930. Here's a sample quote from the "fiery," 5-foot-tall Jones:

I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser.
... 1932, the Convention (No. 29) concerning Force or Compulsory Labor, the Forced Labour Convention that the International Labour Organization had adopted on June 28, 1930, entered into force.

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