Monday, February 22, 2016

"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Unbeknownst to me, legendary labor organizer and activist Mary Harris "Mother" Jones lived her final years on a farm just up the road near Adelphi.  There's even a Prince George's County elementary school named for her there.

 From a write-up by Saul Schniderman on the school's website:
During Mother Jones' years of traveling to fight for justice and organize workers, she often rested in Washington, D.C., at the home of her long-time friend Terence Powderly, former head of the Knights of Labor, and his wife Emma. It was there she met the Burgesses. Lillie May Burgess often drove Mother Jones to their farm for a day's outing, an overnight stay, or a week-long visit. After Powderly's death in 1924, her time in rural Maryland increased. In 1928, the Burgess farm on Powder Mill Road, near the intersection with Riggs Road, became her home. Lillie May lovingly cared for Mother Jones as the labor icon became increasingly frail.
The May 1, 1930, birthday party renewed Mother Jones' legendary energy. Hundreds of well-wishers crowded onto the farm and countless others wired telegrams. Even her long-time foe John D. Rockefeller, Jr. sent his greetings. On November 30, Mother Jones died at the farm she loved. After a funeral service at St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., a train carried her remains to Mt. Olive, Illinois, to be buried in the Union Miners Cemetery with "her boys."

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