Workers Unite Film Festival 2022

A Strike and An Uprising! (In Texas)

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In 1938, half of the nation’s pecans were shelled in San Antonio. When the shellers’ wages were cut from about 6 cents to 4 cents per shelled pound, Emma Tenayuca led an estimated ten thousand workers in a massive walk out. The strike lasted 37 months before the company gave in. While the pecan shellers’ strike is recognized by many as the birth of the Chicano movement, it is shrouded in myth and denial about its iconic communist leader, Emma Tenayuca.

The 1987 march on Nacogdoches was the result of the Annie Mae Carpenter race and gender discrimination lawsuit initiated by the NAACP ten years earlier. Finding that the University and the courts were unresponsive, workers organized a march of more than 3,000 people – labor unionists, civil rights and women’s activists. The march led to a union contract, continuing union representation, and the payment of back wages. While the uprising in Nacogdoches is largely unknown, Texas historian Ruthe Winegarten described it as an epiphany for African American women in Texas.

Lewis explores both events in the same film, using the methods of oral history and by relating these stories strongly to contemporary ideas and events.

This event is co-sponsored by the DC Labor FilmFest (Washington, DC), London Labour Film Festival (London, UK), Workers Unite Film Festival (NYC), Labor411 (Los Angeles, CA), Old Labor Hall (Barre, VT), Haifa Labor Film Festival (Haifa, Israel), AUPE (Alberta, Canada), and the Global Labor Film Festival Network (GLFFN).

  • Year
  • Runtime
    66 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Anne Lewis