Michael is Communications Director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. He was previously Yale’s Deputy Chief Communications Officer and Associate Vice President for New Haven & State Affairs. His career has been devoted to connecting the university and its cultural heritage resources with the public in New Haven, throughout the United States, and around the world.
Michael has served on the board of the national Urban Libraries Council, the State of Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission, and many key New Haven nonprofits. He has been board chair of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) and currently serves as chair of the NHFPL Foundation and of the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery, resting place of Alexander Du Bois and many leading residents of New Haven and the nation.
A graduate of Yale College and the Yale Divinity School, his undergraduate thesis focused on the cultural and civic leader Sol Plaatje, a founder of the African National Congress, newspaper editor, translator, and the first Black South African to publish a novel in English. Michael’s interest in contemporary African literature was first fired decades ago by his work in college as an assistant to the late South African scholar and writer Mbulelo Mzamane, then living in exile. He has developed strong relationships in Ghana over the past decade in the course of frequent travels, including much time with the W. E. B. Du Bois Centre and other cultural heritage sites and organizations in Accra and beyond.