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Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 10: Yearning to Breathe Free
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

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Mother Jones
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Mary Harris was called Mother Jones because of her white hair. But the little lady swore like a trooper and had the energy of a battalion. Hear It Now - Mother Jones She said, "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser!" The police soon called her a public nuisance. They arrested her. When the judge asked who gave her a permit to speak on the streets, she said, "Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams!" Mother Jones was sent to jail again and again. Each time she got out, she went right back to speaking out for workers. She worked in an Alabama cotton mill, and vividly described the plight of the children employed there: Hear It Now - Mother Jones "Little girls and boys, barefooted, walked up and down between the endless rows of spindles, reaching thin little hands into the machinery to repair threads. They crawled under machinery to oil it. They replaced spindles all day long; all night through, six-year-olds with faces of sixty did an eight-hour shift for ten cents a day."

Some said this was no different than slavery. Something needed to be done. Laws were needed to make conditions safe for all workers. It was the people who shouted out—people like Mother Jones—who made those laws happen. Hear It Now - Mother Jones "The militant, not the meek, shall inherit the earth," said Mother Jones. Check The Source - Amongst the Coalminers


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Did You Know?
Though Mother Jones organized women in various industries and brought the wives of working men into the labor movement, she thought that the suffrage movement was a diversion from what she saw as the real issue—class struggle. In good Victorian fashion, Jones believed that women should educate, support, and elevate their husbands—but for rebellion, not for middle-class respectability.


Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?



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