Vera P. Michelson Papers, 1921-2018
- This collection documents the lifelong activism of Albany, N.Y. resident Vera Michelson, especially her work with the Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism.
- 9.4 cubic ft.
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Vera P. Michelson Papers, 1921-2018. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Michelson Papers).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this collection is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of files noted at the folder level.
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- Scope and Content:
This collection includes materials related to Vera Michelson's life and work as an activist and organizer in Albany, N.Y. and beyond. The collection documents her organization of the Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism (CD-CAAR) and work with the Social Justice Center; her national and international work against apartheid; her helping found ROOTS (Re-Entry Opportunities and Orientation Toward Success), a group established by ex-offenders and supporters to mentor the formerly incarcerated; her support of SNUG anti-gun violence; criminal justice reform; and her work with LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) in Albany. Most of the collection includes newspaper articles, correspondence, and meeting minutes related to Michelson's various social activism organizations. The Michelson collection also includes court documents relating to the court cases related to the Springbok Rugby protests in 1982. The collection consists of meeting minutes, notes, reports, clippings, subject files, audio, video, resource materials, posters, banners, and correspondence.
- Biographical / Historical:
Vera P. "Mike" Michelson (1945-2019) was a lifelong activist and organizer. Born in Northampton, Mass., she received her bachelor's degree from Russell Sage College and then a Master of Science degree in Education from the University at Albany.
Michelson was an employee of the State of New York for many years at the Oswald D. Heck developmental center. She retired in 2004, previously serving as president of her CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) Local #445.
In 1981, Michelson helped organize the Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism (CD-CAAR) which opposed the U.S. tour of the South African Springboks rugby team, including its visit to Albany, N.Y. This led to even greater national and international anti-apartheid work and travel for Michelson who testified before the United Nations and traveled to an African National Congress Conference in Zambia. In Albany and the Capital District, Michelson was involved with many efforts involving social and racial justice. She led CD-CAAR's efforts to stop police brutality; was involved with efforts to reform the criminal justice system; worked to bring LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) to Albany; served as a volunteer administrator for Urban Grief, which supports families and communities traumatized by violence; helped to found ROOTS (Re-Entry Opportunities and Orientation Toward Success), a group established by ex-offenders and supporters to mentor the formerly incarcerated; and was involved with SNUG anti-gun violence initiatives.
Predeceased by her parents, she was survived by her brother and sister-in-law David and Carmen, her niece and nephews and their families.
- Acquisition information:
David Michelson, brother of Vera Michelson, donated all materials in this collection to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives in June 2019.
The Vera P. Michelson Papers are arranged in four series: Biography, Capital District Coalition against Apartheid and Racism (CD-CAAR), Social Activism, and Subject Files. Series 1 is arranged chronologically while Series 2-4 are arranged alphabetically.
- Processing information:
Arranged and described by Victoria Waldron in 2020. Finding aid published in 2021.
- Michelson, Vera P., 1945-2019
Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism
Albany, New York
Social Activists and Public Advocates
African Americans and Civil Rights Organizations
Criminal Justice and Prisons
- African Americans--New York (State)--Albany--Social Conditions
Violent crimes--New York (State)--Albany
Firearms and crime--New York (State)--Albany