Rights ac­tivist Grace Lee Boggs dies at age 100

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Grace Lee Boggs, a long­time ac­tivist who was part of the la­bor, civil rights, black power, women’s rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice move­ments, died Mon­day at her Detroit home. She was 100.

Boggs and late hus­band James Boggs were in­volved in ad­vo­cacy for decades. She helped or­ga­nize a 1963 march in Detroit by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Novem­ber 1963 Grass­roots Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence in Detroit with Mal­com X.

Her death was an­nounced by the James and Grace Lee Boggs Cen­ter to Nur­ture Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship, which she set up af­ter her hus­band’s 1993 death.

“Grace died as she lived sur­rounded by books, pol­i­tics, peo­ple and ideas,” Alice Jen­nings and Shea How­ell, two of her trustees, said in a state­ment is­sued by the cen­ter.

In a state­ment re­leased by the White House, U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said Boggs learned early that “the world needed chang­ing, and she over­came bar­ri­ers to do just that.”

“Grace ded­i­cated her life to serv­ing and ad­vo­cat­ing for the rights of oth­ers — from her com­mu­nity ac­tivism in Detroit, to her lead­er­ship in the civil rights move­ment, to her ideas that chal­lenged us all to lead mean­ing­ful lives,” the pres­i­dent said.

The daugh­ter of Chi­nese immi- grants, Boggs was born in Rhode Is­land in 1915 and grew up in New York City. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a doc­tor­ate in phi­los­o­phy from Bryn Mawr Col­lege in 1940, Boggs worked at the Univer­sity of Chicago’s Phi­los­o­phy Li­brary.

Boggs moved back to New York to work with so­cial­ist the­o­rist C. L. R. James, help­ing cre­ate an off­shoot of the So­cial­ist Work­ers Party that fo­cused on race and poverty.

She moved to Detroit in the 1950s to write for a so­cial­ist news­pa­per. That’s where she met James Boggs, an AfricanAmer­i­can man who would be­come her hus­band and col­lab­o­ra­tor. In the 1960s, the cou­ple be­came in­volved in the black power move­ment and were known to of­fer Mal­colm X a place to stay when he vis­ited Detroit.

Their later work fo­cused on Detroit’s res­i­dents and neigh­bor­hoods and in­cluded start­ing Detroit Sum­mer, a pro­gram for young peo­ple to work on com­mu­nity projects.

Boggs was the sub­ject of a 2013 doc­u­men­tary, “Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion­ary: The Evo­lu­tion of Grace Lee Boggs,” that aired on the Public Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice.


In this Feb. 25, 2014 photo, long-time ac­tivist Grace Lee Boggs speaks to a crowd gath­ered for the En­vi­ron­men­tal Grant­mak­ers As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Detroit, Michigan.

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