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: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School | Resource Types: Films

Union organizer Vicky Starr in 1992. Photo:

Vicky Starr (aka Stella Nowicki), “Back of the Yards”

“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.

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.

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.

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