By Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) – 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, Oct. 5, 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, President Barack Obama released a statement, calling Boggs “passionate” and “remarkable.”
“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of author, philosopher, and activist Grace Lee Boggs. 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. As the child of Chinese immigrants and as a woman, Grace learned early on that the world needed changing, and she overcame barriers to do just that.
She understood the power of community organizing at its core the importance of bringing about change and getting people involved to shape their own destiny. Grace’s passion for helping others, and her work to rejuvenate communities that had fallen on hard times spanned her remarkable 100 years of life, and will continue to inspire generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with Grace’s family and friends, and all those who loved her dearly.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, 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 African-American 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 PBS. (end)