Posts Tagged ‘Mary Harris “Mother”Jones’

Amy Johnson

(1903-1941)

Aviator

Born six years after her American counterpart Amelia Earhart, English flying sensation Amy Johnson made her own impression. After a long duration of flying lessons begun when Johnson was twenty-five, she received her pilot’s license in 1929, despite her instructor’s assertions that she had no aptitude for flying. Upon discovering that she could not make a living by flying planes, but still desiring to work around them, Johnson achieved her British Ground Engineer’s License, making her a qualified mechanic while she also retained her simple clerical job. After buying a secondhand single-engine plane to have for personal use, Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930, and broke numerous flying records throughout her career as an amateur pilot. She was often referred to as “The Flying Secretary” by newspapers that followed her stories. In a tale to rival that of many of today’s celebrities, Johnson met celebrated pilot Jim Mollison in 1932. The couple was engaged less than eight hours later, but divorced after six years due to Johnson’s increasing fame and popularity.

Irene Joliot-Curie

(1897-1956)

Chemist

A member of one of the most important families in the history of science, Irene Joliot-Curie inherited a love of chemistry and interest in radioactivity from her mother, Marie Curie. While Marie was the first person and so far the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes, her daughter also won a Nobel Prize; in 1935 she shared the award in chemistry with her husband, Frederic Joliot, for their synthesis of new radioactive elements. Triumphing through sheer tenacity, Joliot-Curie once said: “I consider science to be the paramount interest in my life.” After winning the Nobel Prize she went on to receive a professorship at the Faculty of Science in Paris (1937), be named an Officer of the Legion of Honor, and assist with development of France’s nuclear energy program (now the main source of energy for France). While more concerned with the pursuit of knowledge through science rather than politics, she also stated: “I believe that men’s and women’s scientific aptitudes are exactly the same.”

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

(1837-1930)

Labor Organizer

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said Mother Jones, called by attorney Clarence Darrow “one of the most forceful and picturesque figures of the American Labor movement.” Jones emigrated to Canada as a child, then moved to the United States. After losing her husband and four children to a yellow fever epidemic in 1867, and her dressmaking business to the Chicago fire in 18 71, she became a full-time labor organizer. She worked throughout the United States with groups ranging from coal miners to garment workers to steelworkers. “My address is like my shoes. It travels with me,” she said. “I abide where there is a fight against wrong.” Jones was particularly incensed about the use of child labor. At an Alabama mill, she observed, “by 5:30[AM, the children] are all behind the factory walls, where…they grind their young lives out for fourteen long hours each day.” In 1903 she led a march of young textile workers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home in protest. Radical in her politics, Mother Jones remained an uncompromising advocate for workers.

Barbara Jordan

(1936-1996)

Congresswoman

Barbara Jordan rose to national attention during the impeachment hearings for President Richard Nixon in 1974. By then she already enjoyed a well-earned reputation for integrity and compassion, gained during her years in the Texas state senate (1966-1972). Jordan has been the first African American to serve in that legislative body since 1883. She was also the first black person to preside over the Texas senate and to chair one of its major committees (Labor and Management Relations). Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973, she served on the House judiciary Committee and spear-headed legislation to expand the guarantees of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to include Mexican Americans.

Jordan was the keynote speaker for both the 1976 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions. After her retirement from office in 1978, she taught at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. “I [tell] the young people that if you’re dissatisfied…with the way things are, then you have got to resolve to change them,” said Jordan.

Source: Women Who Dare, from the Library of Congress

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