Emma Tenayuca and the 1938 San Antonio Pecan Shellers Strike

Made for children 8 to 14, this documentary short explores a massive victorious strike of 10,000 pecan shellers including women and children and the life of strike leader Emma Tenayuca. San Antonio singer, storyteller, and cultural worker Keli Rosa Cabunoc Romero takes three little girls on trips to Emma Tenayuca’s grave and a mural painted on the side of a laundromat. Together they reach and uncover the beauty of untold but unforgotten memories of struggle and pride and the power of labor and shared liberation. The short is based loosely on the feature documentary “A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas).”

  • Anne Lewis
    A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas); Anne Braden: Southern Patriot; Morristown: in the air and sun; On Our Own Land, Fast Food Women; Justice in the Coalfields; To Save the Land and People; Evelyn Williams
  • Laura Varela
    As Long As I Remember: American Veteranos
  • Keli Rosa Cabunoc Romero
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 13 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Anne Lewis

Anne Lewis is an independent documentary maker, winner of a 2010 U.S.Artists fellowship, associated with Appalshop, the media arts and education group in Whitesburg, Kentucky. She is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Moody College of Communications at UT-Austin. Her work reveals working class people fighting for social change. Anne was associate director/assistant camera for "Harlan County, U.S.A.," the Academy Award-winning documentary. After the strike, she moved to the eastern Kentucky coalfields where she lived for 25 years.

Anne’s documentaries have been broadcast and distributed to educational institutions as well as grassroots organizations. Anne Braden: Southern Patriot (co-produced with Mimi Pickering) received the following comment from Joan Baez: “It is a gem of a film, accented with freedom fighters, who speak firsthand about carving a path through a traumatized, violent, racist South, to make way for one of the largest and most effective nonviolent movements for social change the world has ever seen.” Morristown: in the air and sun was shown at the Library of Congress at Labor Lore and has toured 16 cities in Mexico with the Ambulante Festival. Howard Zinn wrote of the film, "Brings the complex issue of globalization down to its human level -- where workers on both sides of the border, men and women, struggle to survive. While there is poignancy in their stories, there is also inspiration."

A number of Anne’s films have won awards at major festivals. These include documentaries about labor and labor history: Justice in the Coalfields (INTERCOM gold plaque) about the UMWA strike against Pittston Coal and the impact on coalfield communities in a right-to-work state; Fast Food Women (Judges’ Choice, London Film Festival) about the working poor; Roving Pickets, funded in part by the Kentucky Humanities Council, about a resistance movement at the start of the War on Poverty; and Mine War on Blackberry Creek (Global Village) which includes an early interview with Don Blankenship, former CEO of A.T. Massey.

Other films explore the experiences and understanding of American women including: Evelyn Williams (Juror’s Choice, Black Maria Film Festival, Margaret Meade Festival) is based on oral history about the life of a black Appalachian activist; Belinda (CINE Golden Eagle) about a Kentucky AIDS advocate who spoke of the need for a collective response not crippled by homophobia, racism, fear, or ignorance; and Shelter which looks at the lives of four West Virginia survivors as they move towards lives of safety and dignity. Several films investigate intersection: On Our Own Land (duPont-Columbia award for independent broadcast journalism) about ecology and community organizing; Chemical Valley (POV, American Film and Video Festival Blue Ribbon) which looks at environmental racism; and Rough Side of the Mountain about community organizing, poverty, and economic justice.

Anne maintains 2 websites www.annelewis.org and www.austinbelovedcommunity.org, is a film editor and occasional animator, and a proud member of the Executive Board of TSEU-CWA6186.

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