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100 Greatest Women, #43: Aunt Molly Jackson

100 Greatest Women

#43

Aunt Molly Jackson

Country music has long been credited as speaking for the common man. Alan Jackson sang of the “Little Man” in the late nineties, while Merle Haggard sang the “Working Man’s Blues” in the late sixties. But way back in the early thirties, when the Great Depression was challenging the nation, Kentucky coal miners were being harshly mistreated, and Aunt Molly Jackson became their voice.

She was born in 1880 in Kentucky, and she had written her first song at the age of four. Her grandmother taught her countless old mountain songs that would become part of her repertoire. She married young, but saw her two children die while still infants. She raised her husband’s children from a previous marriage as her own, and earned her keep as a midwife. She was so young for the job that she refused the normal regional name for a midwife – “Granny” – and dubbed herself Aunt Molly Jackson.

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