"Each generation, coming out of obscurity, must define its mission and fulfill or betray it." Frantz Fanon - The Wretched of the Earth”




Grace Lee Boggs Bio


Grace Lee Boggs Bio

Grace Lee Boggs is an activist, writer and speaker whose more than sixty years of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of this century: Labor, Civil rights, Black Power, Asian American, Women's and Environmental Justice.

Born in Providence, R.I. of Chinese immigrant parents in l915, Grace received her B.A. from Barnard College in l935 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in l940.

In the last few years she has been awarded honorary doctorates for her “philosophic activism.” From Wooster College (2004), Kalamazoo College (2007), University of Michigan, Wayne State University (2009)and Oakland University (2012).

The citation from the University of Michigan says her” bold writing has brought hope to our state and region” while the Oakland University degree describes her as "a  distinguished political activist, agent of social change, writer and speaker” who “has had a lasting, positive impact on communities in the Detroit metropolitan region.”

 In the l940s and l950s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C.L.R.James and in l953 she came to Detroit where she married James Boggs, African American labor activist, writer and strategist. Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for over 40 years until James death in July l993. Their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, was published by Monthly Review Press in l974 and re-issued as a classic in 2009.

 In 1992, with James Boggs, Shea Howell and others, she founded DETROIT SUMMER, a multicultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up, which completed its 14th season in the summer of 2006. Currently she works with the Detroit City of Hope campaign and the Beloved Communities Initiative and writes for the weekly Michigan Citizen.

 Her autobiography, Living for Change, published by the University of Minnesota Press in March l998,is widely used in university classes in Asian American studies, on Detroit and on social movements.

Her most recent book, with Scott Kurashige, is The Next American Revolution, University of California Press, 2011.

 She has appeared on Bill Moyers Journal and Democracy Now.

 Her many awards include:

1993: Human Rights Day Award, Center of Peace and Conflict Studies,Wayne State University.

1998: Zenobia Paine Drake Award, Black Family Development.

 2000: Discipleship Award from Groundwork for a Just World.

 2000: Distinguished Alumnae Award, Barnard College.

 2000: Chinese American Pioneers Award, Organization of Chinese Americans.

 2001: Women's Lifetime Achievement, Anti-Defamation League.

 2002: Legacy Award, Museum of Chinese in America, New York City.

 2004: Grassroots Peacebuilder Award, Peace Action of Michigan.

 2004: Senior Celebrity Award, Bridging Communities, Detroit.

2004: Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues Award.

 2004: Lifetime Commitment Award, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, Michigan Women's Federation.

2005: Community Honoree Award, WAND (Women's Action for NewDirections).

 2005: Urban Woman Writer in Residence, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Wayne State University.

 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, Detroit City Council.

 2007: A Detroit News Michiganian of the Year.

 2009 Michigan Women Hall of Fame.

 A plaque in her honor is displayed at the National Women's Hall of Fame

in Seneca Falls, New York.

Edit 5-25-2012



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May 25, 2012