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

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

Pat Smith and Frank Nelson Wedding (CORE)
Them There Eyes (MS)
Sitting-In on Attorney General Robert Kennedy (DC)
How I Became An Oral Historian
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

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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