Michael Munk was born in Prague in 1934. He escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and came to Portland in 1939. He graduated from Hillside School, Lincoln High School, Reed College, and received an MA in political science from the University of Oregon. While a student, he worked as a casual longshoreman on the Portland docks, sold tickets at the Holladay Bowl's summer concerts, and drove a truck during wheat harvests in the Paulouse. His political activity began in the 1950s, when he became a local opponent of nuclear testing as well as a promoter of a Portland concert by Paul Robeson. As vice president of the Young Democrats of Oregon in 1956, he failed to win their endorsement of US recognition of China, and had also failed to prevent the firing of a philosophy professor by Reed College in 1954. In 1959, he was ordered to leave Oregon by the federal government, whose domination of South Korea he witnessed as a member of the US Army.
After Michael's military service, he was the national affairs editor of the leftist New York news weekly, the National Guardian. After receiving his PhD in politics from New York University, he taught political science for more than twenty–five years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Roosevelt University in Chicago, and Rutgers University, before returning to Portland.
Since his return, Michael has published on local radical history and culture in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, and Science & Society. His column, "Our Radical Past" was a monthly feature in the Portland Alliance for several years. Prior to The Portland Red Guide, his most recent articles include "John Reed: Political Provocateur" in Portland Monthly (September 2006) and "McCarthyism Laid to Rest?" in Reed Magazine (Spring 2006).
Michael Munk's photo gallery for the 2nd edition of The Portland Red Guide can be viewed here.