American Author and Activist. Born Grace Lee to Chinese immigrants, she was an author, philosopher and human rights activist who fought for civil rights, labor, feminism, the environment and other causes for seven decades. Raised in Queens, New York, at 16 she enrolled at Barnard College, graduated in 1935 with a degree in philosophy, and in 1940 earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. In 1941, discouraged about prospects for a college teaching position, she found a library job at the University of Chicago, and she was soon organizing protests against slum housing in surrounding black neighborhoods. In 1945 she published her first book, 'George Herbert Mead: Philosopher of the Social Individual' about the American scholar regarded as a founder of social psychology. In 1953, she moved to Detroit and married James Boggs, a black autoworker, writer and radical activist. The couple focused on African-Americans, women and young people and identified closely with the Black Power Movement. She eventually adopted Dr. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent strategies and as Detroit’s economy and population declined sharply over the years, she became a prominent symbol of resistance to the spreading blight. She founded food banks and community groups to support the elderly, organize unemployed workers and fight utility shut-offs. She devised tactics to combat crime, including protest demonstrations outside known crack houses, and in columns for a local weekly newspaper, The Michigan Citizen, promoted civic reforms. In 1992, she co-founded Detroit Summer, a youth program that draws volunteers from all over the country to repair homes, paint murals, organize music festivals and turn vacant lots into community gardens. In 2013, she opened the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, a charter elementary school. Her other books included 'Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century' (1974), 'Women and the Movement to Build a New America' (1977), 'Living for Change: An Autobiography' (1998) and 'The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century' (2011).
Bio by: Louis du Mort
1919–1993 (m. 1953)