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Descendants of “Big Annie” Clemenc give Calumet museum an addition to her exhibit

The labor activist’s Labor’s International Hall of Fame award now in a case that sits by her story
Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) - The Anna Clemenc Exhibit at the Coppertown USA Mining Museum officially has a new addition.

On Saturday afternoon, descendants of the 1910s labor activist came all the way from Chicago and gave the museum her Labor’s International Hall of Fame (LIHF) award.

“The fact that here is where she did all of the wonderful things that she did, the tribute to honor her belongs here,” said Anne Marie Kelly, one of Clemenc’s great grandchildren.

Clemenc, also known as “Big Annie”, played a large role in the Copper Miners Strike of 1913. She led the miners and their families on a year-long protest that pushed for better wages and working conditions. She was also the president of the Local Women’s Auxiliary No. 15 of the Western Federation of Miners.

“Representing the women’s interest and the labor movement at that time,” said the museum’s vice president, Richard Dana, “she not only represented. She stood out.”

The family did not start learning about the history of their ancestor until around ten years ago. In 2013, they accepted “Big Annie’s” notoriety from the Labor’s International Hall of Fame. Now, the honor is in a case sitting right by her story.

“I really commend them a lot for making that decision,” Dana stated.

“Big Annie’s” great grandchildren hope the award and the whole exhibit make an impact on those who visit and those looking to stand up for what is right.

“Take her story, and use it to put your voice forward in a powerful and strong way,” Kelly said.

With “Big Annie’s” award now in its new home, another piece of her legacy will forever live on in history.

NOTE: The “Big Annie” exhibit at the museum would not be there if it were not for the tireless efforts of sole creator Joanne Thomas of Allouez, MI. Joanne was a co-sponsor for Annie’s induction into the LIHF in 2013 - the award that is now displayed in this exhibit. If it were not for Joanne, many people would not know “Big Annie’s” story, including the activist’s family.”

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