OverviewDetailing the life of relatively unknown yet remarkable American labor leader Regina V. Polk, this biography describes the Teamster as a warrior, a champion, and a humanitarian who spent her life living fully, caring deeply for those around her, and advocating for the things she believed in, particularly the dignity of all work and all workers.
Reviews"The story of Polk's life is told well in the biography and includes a wealth of information on a truly dedicated unionist."Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€Teamster Magazine
"After working in the cotton mills from 1956 until 1973 when I was fired from J.P. Stevens in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, for working to organize a union, I can appreciate the hard work and challenges that Regina Polk faced as one of the first woman Teamster leaders. It is sad that I had not heard about Regina Polk before reading I Am a Teamster. Polk was a woman with so much love, courage, and knowledge of labor laws. She was a woman as dedicated, as intelligent, and as tough as her idol Jimmy Hoffa. This is a wonderful educational book for anyone who wants to know about organizing the unorganized. It also does a wonderful job of honoring a woman who 'felt that it was more important to actually help one person than to talk about saving the world.'"Ã¢â‚¬â€Crystal Lee Sutton, The Real Norma Rae
"Imagine an environment dominated by men unconsciously comfortable with sexism, racism, and brute force. Further imagine a young working-class woman courageously embracing the principle of justice for all workers and compelled to navigate a terrain dominated by complex, flawed, sometimes deeply compromised and always powerful men. Such elements are typically the ingredients of wonderful fiction, but in Terry Spencer Hesser's colorful and personal portrait of labor leader Regina V. Polk, we have a truly inspirational story for anyone who believes in fighting against the power of patriarchy and abusive employers. I Am a Teamster is how Regina Polk defined herself and in the accounts of her tragically brief life, as told by Ms. Hesser, the reader finds an exemplary model of what the very best of union leaders can offer workers and society."Ã¢â‚¬â€Robert Bruno, Director of Labor Education Program, University of Illinois
"After reading about Regina Polk, you'll wish you had known her, especially if you are of her generationÃ¢â‚¬â€a baby boomer in your late fifties or early sixties. This biography by Terry Spencer Hesser portrays a dynamic, determined organizer who pried doors open for women in the labor movement and who entered the world of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 743 and rose to leadership in the large Chicago local. . . . It is likely appealing to a youthful audience that would find Polk's life story unusual and interesting. Undergraduates or young working people might take inspiration from Polk's commitment and zest for life . . . The contributions to labor of Regina Polk and other women ofÃ‚Â her generation need to be compiled, examined, and cherished."Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€Labor Studies Journal
Author BiographyTerry Spencer Hesser is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and biographer. She is a recipient of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award, three Emmys, and a host of other honors. She is the author of the novel Kissing Doorknobs, whichÃ‚Â received an ALA award, and the play Christmas with Elvis.