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.


Question 75 asks about the preceding passage as a whole

75. Suppose the writer’s goal had been to summarize women’s contributions to early-twentieth-century labor law reform. Would this essay accomplish that goal?

  • A. Yes, because it shows that Mother Jones was a well-known and respected labor agitator.

  • B. Yes, because it introduces a prominent figure in labor history. 

  • C. No, because it focuses more specifically on labor law reform in the nineteenth century. 

  • D. No, because it focuses more specifically on one figure in the labor movement.