Mother Jones: True to the Spirit of Her Cause

The autobiography by Mary Harris Jones is riddled with factual inaccurate (61). Jones even fudges her date of birth, she falsely lists(62) May 1, International Workers’ Day, and ages herself by nearly a decade. These untruths—whether deliberate exaggerations or lips of the memory—ultimately matters (63)very little, for (64)the autobiography isn’t about the life of Mary Harris Jones. Jones became famous for her work (65).

When Mary Harris Jones got involved in labor politics in the 1860s, it was rare for a woman to attend, let alone address, union meetings. Jones, however, became one of the movement’s most powerful and controversial advocate’s.(66) She traveled the United States, from the coal mines of Appalachia to the railroad yards of the West, rallying workers to join unions and fight for better working conditions. Specifically, Jones helped organize efforts to ensure that employers complied with laws governing workday hours and child labor.

The moniker “Mother Jones” was conferred on Jones by members of the American Railway Union. She herself, (67) adopted the name and, subsequently, a corresponding public persona. Her audiences came to expect “Mother Jones.” (68) By 1900, the white-haired, calico-frocked figure was no longer known as Mary Harris Jones,(69) the media, union leaders and workers, and even U.S. presidents referred to her as Mother Jones. Embracing the very role used to confine women to the domestic sphere, Jones subversively redefined the boundaries of home and family “My address is like my shoes,” (70) she said. “It travels with me wherever I go.” She was the matriarch who staunchly protected workers. (71)

And protect them she did: (72) When workers went on strike, Jones secured food donations and temporary living arrangements. Where companies prevented the formation of unions, she fought for workers’ right to organize. Instead of  (73) these tireless efforts on there behalf, (74) workers trusted Mother Jones and, by extension, the labor unions she represented.


68. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following true statement:

To meet their expectations, Jones crafted her speech, dress, and mannerisms based on cultural notions of motherhood.
Should the writer make this addition here?

  • A. Yes, because it highlights the contrast between Jones’s personal style and her audiences’.

  • B. Yes, because it adds details about what types of changes Jones made to create her public persona.

  • C. No, because it detracts from the focus of the paragraph by introducing unrelated details.

  • D. No, because it doesn’t indicate the effect Jones’s public persona had on audiences.