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Big Annie Clemenc: The

Big Annie Clemenc: The "American Joan of Arc" of the Copper Country Strike

Written by: Lynn Mazzoleni



Time to read 1 min

In the heart of the Copper Country, Big Annie Clemenc posed a significant question: “What is the true cost of copper?” Beyond its financial implications in 1913, this inquiry explored the depths of human value and sacrifice.

Serving as President of the Women's Auxiliary No. 15 of the Western Federation of Miners, Big Annie wielded her voice and presence not merely as instruments of protest but as forces for change. At a time when calls for fair treatment often fell on deaf ears, her steadfast advocacy for miners' rights and better working conditions shone a light on the labor struggles during the Copper Strike.

To honor her legacy and the sacrifices of the Copper Country miners, I've painted this portrait of Big Annie. This piece celebrates her unwavering bravery and honors the hardworking men who mined beneath Lake Superior, fueling the Industrial Revolution's demand for copper.

This piece captures Big Annie's spirit, marrying the strength of her beliefs with the gentleness of her deeds. The portrait, framed in antique gold with a delicate flower motif, embodies the miners' plea for "bread and roses"—a call for both economic sustenance and the preservation of beauty and dignity in their lives.

Currently displayed and available for purchase at the Gallery on 5th in Calumet, Michigan, the portrait of Big Annie seeks a permanent home. This "American Joan of Arc" remains an inspiration, reminding us of the importance of standing firm in the face of adversity and the lasting impact of fighting for justice.