Mickells was born in Omaha, Nebraska and worked at the Cumberland Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania before being laid off in 1987. In 1986, she led a delegation of American women coal miners to tour coal fields in the United Kingdom. In that same year, Mickells attended the International Miners Organisation meeting also in the United Kingdom. In 1987, she was part of the SWP delegation which attended the 75th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress, which was held in Arusha, Tanzania due to the apartheid policies in South Africa.
In 1983 Mickells ran for commissioner in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and received 7% of the vote. In 1985, she ran a write-in campaign for the United States Congress in West Virginia. In 1988, Mickells ran as the vice presidential candidate alongside James Warren on the SWP ticket. The Warren/Mickells pair received 15,602 votes nationally. In 1991, Mickells ran as the SWP candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia, saying she would bring a working-class worldview to city politics. She finished in sixth and last place of the declared candidates, with 1,811 votes.
- Coakley, Michael B. (August 1, 1991). "Consumers, Socialists File Petitions For Nov. Election". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Stevens, Jon (April 12, 1988). "'Jobs for all' platform for Socialists". Observer-Reporter. pp. A–9. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "1988 Presidential General Election Results". Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "Results of the Philadelphia Municipal Primary Election on November 5, 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
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| Socialist Workers Party nominee for
Vice President of the United States
Willie Mae Reid
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