“Mother, we haven’t had anything to eat today,” said the three miners from Mexico, “or yesterday, or the day before, and we are dead broke.”
I said it would be remarkable to find a miner any other way. I said I had enough money to get them plenty to eat, but to be sure and steer clear of the charity organizations .
I said, “I can tell you where you can go and get filled up. Go down to the saloon and get a free lunch, and they will give you a schooner of beer to wash it down. I will have a meeting on the street tonight, and as this is the tourist season the collection will be good and I will give it to you.
We had a collection of eighteen dollars that night, and I gave them five dollars apiece and kept three dollars to get something to eat.
Then we saw a gang coming down the street and they were hammering each other. I asked a policeman what the trouble was. He said it was a row about Jesus.
I said, “Who’s in it?”
He said, “The Salvation Army and the Volunteers are fighting about Jesus.”
I said, “that is a hell of a way to fight for Jesus. Why don’t you arrest them?”
He said it would not do because there were fighting for Jesus.
They had beaten each other and the women had pulled each other’s hair out. They were fighting to see which side Jesus belonged to. While they were hammering each other the collection that had been taken up rolled on the street. I jumped in and rescued the coin.
When I had some coin I didn’t have to fight for or talk for, but got it by bending my back a little, I said to the policeman: “Don’t you want a drink on Jesus?”
He said, “By God, I do!”
So we went to a restaurant and got supper and some beer, and if any fellow wanted to get an extra jag on we were ready to pay for it because we had Jesus’s money.
–Mary “Mother Jones” Harris
Speech at the annual convention
of United Mine Workers of America, 1909
Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone.
Thank you to all the unions, organizers, workers, agitators, liberals and lawmakers who finally pulled their heads out of the owners’ asses to give us a day to celebrate people who work.
And thank you, too, to everyone who has encouraged me and commented and viewed my blog in my inaugural week. I’m enjoying the conversation.