Film Clips

Vicky Starr: “Back of the Yards”

Film clip. Voices of a People’s History.
Dramatic reading of Vicky Star’s “Back of the Yards” by Christina Kirk.

Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History

When I look back now, I really think we had a lot of guts. But I didn’t even stop to think about it at the time. It was just something that had to be done. We had a goal. That’s what we felt had to be done, and we did it.

Union organizer Vicky Starr in 1992. Photo: talkingunion.wordpress.com

“Stella Nowicki” was the assumed name of Vicki Starr, an activist who participated in the campaign to organize unions in the meatpacking factories of Chicago in the 1930s and ‘40s. Here’s a video clip of actress Christina Kirk reading Vicky Starr’s account of the conditions of working in the plants and tactics used to organize workers.

Film Clip Description

Vicky Starr recounted the conditions of working in the plants and tactics used to organize workers. Actress Christina Kirk reads Starr’s account recalling the economic crisis of the 1930s, on December 5, 2004, at the Independent and Small Press Book Fair, New York, NY.

Christina Kirk reads Vicky Starr (aka Stella Nowicki), “Back of the Yards” (1973) recalling the 1930s from Voices of a People’s History on Vimeo.

The excerpt is from Voices of a People’s History of the United States edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

Many more video clips can be found at the Voices of a People’s History website and in the film The People Speak.