The Writing of
Michelle Duster
Michelle's Bio

Michelle Duster is a writer, speaker, and educator who focuses on work that highlights the positive contributions of African Americans and women.  She has written numerous articles,  essays and  books including Ida In Her Own Words (BW Publishing, 2008) and Ida From Abroad (BW Publishing, 2010).  She co-wrote the children's history book, Tate and His Historic Dream (Highlights of Chicago Press, 2014) which is a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award and co-edited and published Shifts:  An Anthology of Women's Growth Through Change (MuseWrite Press, 2015).

In 2009, Michelle partnered with three other writers to start a literary group
MuseWrite. They started by conducting seminars, speaking at literacy programs, and providing consultations to help others develop their writing. This eventually led to them creating a literary outlet for other women to share their writing.  In 2014, she and Trina Sotira (an original founder of MuseWrite) founded MuseWrite Press to publish their anthology and other works.

She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Women’s History Center since 2009 and has served on the Academic Program Committee for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History since 2011. She has chaired the Film Festival Committee for the past several years organizing a festival that includes 15 - 17 current films that tell the stories of the African American experience.

She teaches and tutors writing at the college level and is currently working with Paula Marie Seniors, PhD and Rose Thevenin, PhD on a collection of writing about how Michelle Obama has been portrayed in the media. 

Michelle has also organized dozens of concerts, awards ceremonies, fundraisers and other public programs while working with various organizations including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Jewell Jackson McCabe in New York City.  She also worked on documentary films Ida B. Wells:  A Passion for Justice   and A Question of Color, that examined intra-racial tensions in the African American community.

In her effort to preserve the legacy of her great-grandmother, Michelle is involved in several projects named after Ida B. Wells including a scholarship fund at Rust College (Ida’s alma mater) and the The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She is active with the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee where she served as Co-Chair for several years.  The group is developing a substantial piece of artwork that will be located in the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago.  The multi-dimensional piece will capture the life and times of her great-grandmother.
earned her B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School in New York City.  She also studied film and video production at Columbia College in Chicago.  As a form of relaxation she designs and creates beaded jewelry

Awards and Honors

Michelle has received several awards and honors for her contribution to African American History and the field of communications including:

- ASALH Council Award of Special Recognition (2017)
 - Black Heritage Award, Mahogany Scholarship Heritage Foundation (2016)

- Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, US House of Representatives (2010)

- Cheyney University of Pennsylvania NAACP Founder's Award  (2009) 

- Honored by the City of Houston (2009)

- Irma Kingsley Johnson Distinguished Service Award by the Chicago Friends of the Amistad Research Center (2009)

- Ronald C. Foreman, Jr. Lecturer Award, African American Studies Program at University of Florida, Gainesville (2011)

- Who's Who in Black Chicago (2010)




























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