Sheila Michaels
(AKA Kessler, Shiki y Michaels)
(1939 – 2017, In Memory)

CORE, 1961-1963. NYC, Mississippi, east coast.
SNCC, 1962-1964. Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee

How I Became An Oral Historian
Pat Smith and Frank Nelson Wedding (CORE)
Them There Eyes (MS)
Oral History, Mississippi Digital Archive, 1999
Mississippi Civil Rights Oral History with Sheila Michaels, 1999
Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Overcoming Reticence, Denial, Shame & Pain
The Creamsickle Color Dress
Knoxville Crusader & The Brave Printers of Alcoa, Tennessee
My First Arrest: or, How I Got Disinherited and Took My Mother's First Husband's Name
Sitting-In on Attorney General Robert Kennedy: A Memoir

In 1961, I created the honorific title "Ms.", from what I thought was a typo in an address plate sent by "News & Letters". Someone in Detroit must have known of the shorthand "Ms." for someone whose marital status was unknown. I was looking for a title for a woman who did not "belong" to a man. I struggled to put the idea forth for over a decade, until it was picked up by Gloria Steinem & attributed to "anonymous": but I am grateful that my idea & cause gained circulation.

For two years I have been conducting oral histories with members of CORE; but the project has been enlarged to include SNCC & WRL people as there is so much overlap. I want this to be a record of those who really did the work, especially those who did not get wider recognition. The tapes are archived at Columbia & at the Mississippi State's OH archives. Some are on-line or headed there. So far I have 90 interviews, some up to 7 hours long. I began the project at the request of the head of Columbia's OH archives; but they have not sponsored social action projects for more than 20 years, so I am looking for grants for transcriptions. I had originally thought to spend four years on this, but now I see it will last as long as I do. This is another "Movement" project, as far as I am concerned.

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(Labor donated)