Fem­i­nist ‘ Ms’ dies at 78

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

Fem­i­nist, civil rights ac­tivist Born: May 8, 1939, St Louis, Mis­souri, US Died: June 22, 2017, New York City, New York, US SHEILA Michaels was a fem­i­nist and civil- rights ac­tivist in the 1960s who has been cred­ited with pop­u­lar­is­ing the cour­tesy ti­tle “Ms” in place of “Mrs” or “Miss” for women.

Michaels ( pic­tured) was born and raised in St Louis and New York, the child of her mother Alma’s lover, the civil lib­er­ties lawyer Ephraim Lon­don, whom she did not meet un­til she was 14.

She at­tended the Col­lege of Wil­liam and Mary, but was sus­pended for her po­lit­i­cal opin­ions and moved to New York in 1959, when she was 20. She went to Columbia Univer­sity night school while work­ing as a ghost­writer and ed­i­tor.

Dur­ing the ’ 60s, she worked for the Con­gress of Racial Equal­ity in New York and the Stu­dent Non­vi­o­lent Co- or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee in Jack­son, Mis­sis­sippi.

She also worked to or­gan­ise the his­toric civil­rights March on Wash­ing­ton in 1963 and helped write John Lewis’ speech there.

Named a field sec­re­tary for SNCC, Michaels worked in Ten­nessee as an ed­i­tor of The Knoxville Cru­sader, a civil- rights news­pa­per.

But her civil rights work did not go down well with her fam­ily.

Af­ter she was ar­rested in At­lanta in 1963, they dis­owned her as her busi­ness­man step­fa­ther had clients in the South.

At their re­quest, she dropped her step­fa­ther’s sur­name, Kessler, and be­came Michaels again, af­ter her mother’s first hus­band.

But it was in 1961, when Michaels saw the typo “Ms.” on a let­ter ad­dressed to her room­mate, that she saw an al­ter­na­tive to “Miss” or “Mrs”.

She be­lieved it of­fered women the po­ten­tial of not be­ing de­fined by mar­riage.

“I didn’t want to be owned. I didn’t be­long to my fa­ther and I didn’t want to be­long to a hus­band – some­one who could tell me what to do,” she said in 2007.

“I had not seen very many mar­riages I’d want to em­u­late. The whole idea came to me in a cou­ple of hours. Tops.”

The term, which had been pro­posed be­fore with no suc­cess, grew in pub­lic us­age af­ter Michaels started her push, and it graced the ti­tle of the fem­i­nist mag­a­zine Ms. that was started in 1971 by Glo­ria Steinem and Dorothy Pit­man Hughes.

It was the first pe­ri­od­i­cal ever to be cre­ated, owned and op­er­ated en­tirely by women.

A long­time res­i­dent of the Lower East Side of Man­hat­tan, Michaels also had a home in St Louis.

Her mar­riage to Hikaru Shiki, a chef with whom she ran a Ja­panese restau­rant in Lower Man­hat­tan in the 1980s, ended in di­vorce. ( She was known dur­ing their mar­riage as Sheila Shiki- y- Fe Michaels.)

In later years, Michaels worked in pub­lic re­la­tions, jour­nal­ism, crit­i­cism and edit­ing, and as a New York taxi driver.

Her sur­vivors in­clude a half brother, Peter Lon­don.

Would you like an obit­u­ary writ­ten about your loved one? Con­tact Chris Sil­vini on 4722 4427 for con­sid­er­a­tion. The next District Court Ap­pli­ca­tion Day is 26th July 2017 The next Ad­mis­sion date for So­lic­i­tors is 28 July 2017. Please be ad­vised that the An­nual Law Year Church Ser­vice will be held at 9.30am to­day Mon­day 24 July 2017 at St An­drew’s Pres­by­te­rian Church, 113 Wills Street, Townsville. The wel­come Cer­e­mony for Jus­tice He­len Bowskill may be viewed via video link on Thurs­day 27 July 2017 at 9.15am in Court 1 Level D. Sem­i­nar 2 “Cau­sa­tion and Loss of Op­por­tu­nity” pre­sented by the Hon Jus­tice David Jack­son may be viewed via video link on Thurs­day 27 July 2017 from 5pm in Court 1 Level D Ju­rors on Panel H, Num­bers 1 to 64 are re­quired to at­tend at 10am on Mon­day, 24th July, 2017. Ju­rors on Panel H, Num­bers 65 to 172 are not re­quired to at­tend on Mon­day, 24th July, 2017

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