During a delay after sentencing, while she was finishing her college degree, Sheila began writing articles for the Washington Free Press, an “underground” newspaper.
According to Wikipedia:
The Washington Free Press was a biweekly radical underground newspaper published in Washington, DC, beginning in 1966, when it was founded by representatives of the five colleges in Washington as a community paper for local Movement people. It was an early member of the Underground Press Syndicate. Starting in Dec. 1967 they shared a three-story house in northwest Washington with the Liberation News Service, the Washington Draft Resistance Union, and a local chapter of the anti-draft group Resistance.
Around this time, she also became involved in the Students for a Democratic Society.
Cathy Wilkerson, one of the Weathermen who survived the March 6, 1970 explosion in Greenwich Village, had met Sheila when she first moved to Washington D.C. in 1967:
Sheila Ryan wrote about the connections between Democratic Party leaders and the Institute of International Labor Research, an organization that designed and set up “left” parties in seventeen Latin American countries, supporting them with funds from the CIA. The leaders of these parties then helped the United States to orchestrate the installation of politicians loyal to the United States, like Bosch in the Dominican Republic, without showing their hand too obviously. WFP writers also researched connections between local political people, including a few in the peace movement, and CIA-funded foundations and institutes. Through these articles, and others published in Ramparts magazine during the same period, I learned to search for the funding behind any foundation, organization, or institute and to stay suspicious of the hidden hand of the CIA, which in the name of democracy often sought to undermine local grass-roots forces.
… Peter Henig’s friend from Earlham, Marilyn McNabb… like Peter and Sheila, was drawn to the task of teasing apart the connections between the various circles of power in the country, and in so doing, showed how these circles knowingly served each other.
— From Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times As a Weatherman, By Cathy Wilkerson, Seven Stories Press 2007, p 136-137.
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We have not been able to locate an online copy of this article, which has been cited in a couple of recent New Left History books, so all we have to go on is the title:
Margie Stamberg, “Sheila Ryan Beaten by Prison Guard,” Washington Free Press, November 23, 1967, 4
This article in the Washington Post in December 1967 is based on an interview while Sheila was in jail.
The jail-house photo is imperfect, but recognizably Sheila:
(Original Layout) (PDF Version)
This article was also syndicated to The Milwaukee Journal a week later.