Mike Miller was born on January 24, 1937, in San Francisco, California. He grew up in the San Francisco Mission District and the Sunnydale housing project where he attended Balboa High School. His parents were union activists. Mike attended the University of California Berkeley where he was the founding chairman of SLATE, a campus political party that was a precursor to the Free Speech Movement. He joined SNCC in 1962 becoming a field secretary serving mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1962-1966. He traveled south and worked in the Greenwood area of Mississippi during the summer and fall of ‘63 where he nearly died from a ruptured spleen when refused medical treatment due to his civil rights activism in the area. Mike worked closely with Robert “Bob” Moses and befriended Fanny Lou Hamer while in Mississippi. Mike was in attendance at the famous Peg Leg Bates SNCC gathering in 1966 when SNCC kicked out all the White activists. He then went to work with Saul Alinsky leading community organizing projects in Missouri and elsewhere.
Mike has spent nearly 60 years as a community organizer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is Executive Director of the ORGANIZE! Training Center. He has served as a consultant, workshop leader, teacher, writer, trainer, and initiator of projects around the nation. Mike is a published author of multiple books and articles. He has also taught community organizing and urban politics at Stanford, University of California, Notre Dame, San Francisco State, Hayward State, and Lone Mountain.
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Date: November 11, 2020
Lead: Simona Nigusse ('21) Convent High School
Support: Makana Leavitt ('21) and Jean-Luc Desnoyers-Piña ('22) , Stuart Hall High School
Instructor: Howard Levin, Director of Educational Innovation
Location: Recorded via Zoom teleconferencing system. Mike Miller was at his home in San Francisco, CA. The interview Team was in their separate homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area during the “shelter in place” order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duration: 59 min
Click image above to access video of the full interview.