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Mother Jones Historical Marker Unveiled

The Mother Jones Heritage Project unveilied an important historical marker and exhibit at 1:00 p.m., December 11, at the I55 Southbound Coalfield, Illinois Rest Area, (Waggoner exit mile marker 65). The event was timed to coincide with the inauguration of the year-long Illinois Bicentennial celebration.

Members from Laborers' Local 1084 and the Southwestern Illinois Laborers District Council were instrumental in getting this project complete. The Laborers' Union helped ensure the success of this project by donating hundreds of hours of work and volunteering time and material.

The marker will highlight the importance of union coalminers in Illinois’ and the nation’s history, as well as the remarkable historical figure Mother Jones. The large marker is placed in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Attending the ribbon-cutting honors was Brian O’Brien, Ireland’s Consul General to Chicago and midwest representatives of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois State Historical Society, Illinois Labor History Society, United Mine Workers of America, Mother Jones Foundation, City of Mt. Olive, Senator Dick Durbin, Irish American Heritage Center, Union Miners’ Cemetery, Route 66 Association, Illinois Humanities Council.

Dennis Surgalski, a marker sponsor, whose father was a breaker boy in the mines and who met Mother Jones, was also present.

The marker is located 20 miles north of the national historic place, Mother Jones Monument. Just before the ribbon cutting a wreath presentation was made by Consul General at the Mother Jones Monument. A poem written by Mother Jones was also read by actress Brigid Duffy.

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