chapter  24
Mother Jones
Pages 6

In one of the most quoted passages in American literature, Tom Joad declared in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, "I'll be everywhere-wherever you look. Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. . . . " Thirty years before Steinbeck created Tom Joad, Mother Jones, when asked to state her residence in testimony before the House Rules Committee, declared, "I live in the United States, but I do not know exactly in what place, because I am always in the fight against oppression, and wherever a fight is going on I have to jump there . . . so that really I have no particular residence." Millions of Americans have read Tom Joad's words; hundreds of scholars have written about John Steinbeck. Yet the story of a woman who lived those words, whose name was legendary a few generations ago, is now largely unknown.