Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who is Grace Lee Boggs?

91 year-old Grace Lee Boggs can’t be neatly categorized.

She is Chinese-American but was influential in the Black Power movement of the 1960’s. She once aligned herself with the violence inducing rhetoric of Malcolm X but after the race riots of the late ‘60’s in Detroit, Michigan, she saw the potential of non-violent protest and the teachings of Martin Luther King. She is an author, speaker, educator, humanitarian, and activist.

Grace Lee Boggs and her husband James Boggs were influential in most every political equality movement in the last forty years. As residents of Detroit, they were intensely aware of the damage strained race relations can cause. Before her husband’s death in 1993, they began a project called Detroit Summer, a multicultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up. The organization is coming upon its 15th season this summer.

In a recent speech called Catching up with Martin, Boggs said of the turbulent 1960’s, “We could no longer separate ethics from politics or view revolutionary struggle simply in terms of us vs. them...The absence of this philosophical/spiritual dimension in the Black Power struggles of the 1960s helps to explain why these struggles ended up in the opportunism, drug abuse, and interpersonal violence…” The transcript of the speech is something we should all read and ponder.

Since the Detroit race riots that she characterizes as race rebellions, she has dedicated herself to helping to realize King's vision of Beloved Community in her hometown of Detroit and elsewhere around the country, one grassroots project at a time.

Bill Moyers recently interviewed Mrs. Boggs. You can watch a video of the meeting at Bill Moyers Journal. He also complied a list of projects headed or developed by Mrs. Boggs that demonstrates her passion for uplifting the human spirit. Here are just a few:

Picture the Homeless: One of Grace Lee Boggs' Beloved Community organizations located in The Bronx. "Picture the Homeless was founded on principle that homeless people have civil and human rights regardless of race, creed, color or economic status. It was founded and is led by homeless people." On the Web site, you'll find information about the many campaigns being conducted by the organization, such as the Potter's Field Initiative, which is trying to secure the homeless access to Potters Field (on Hart Island, NY) in order to memorialize their loved ones."

The Boggs Center: For nearly forty years, the Boggs' home has been a community center and think-tank drawing together individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds. People from around the world have come to create and discuss visions and strategies relating to local community struggles, workers' movements, and global campaigns for social justice. Today, the second floor of the building serves as the offices and meeting space of the Boggs Center and includes a small boarding area."

Detroit - City of Hope: A digital meeting place for organizations concerned with the betterment of the city of Detroit.

Grace Lee Boggs is an inspiration to all and even at her advanced age is still asked to speak at colleges, universities, and organizations around the country.

17 comments:

thepoetryman said...

What a fine ode to this incredible woman. Thank you.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Poetryman,

I'm sorry to say that I just discovered her. I don't know how I misses her impact on our society until now. I saw the Bill Moyers interview and I was so fascinated by her. I want to be like that when I'm in my 90's.

Thanks,
Lisa

Mike said...

Hello,

We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for
www.BlogInterviewer.com . We'd like to give you the opportunity to
give us some insight on the "person behind the blog."

It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
be submitted online at http://bloginterviewer.com/submit-an-interview

Best regards,

Mike Thomas

Happily Anonymous said...

She sounds like an incredible woman. Nice find and good to read about things like this.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Mike,

I'm honored. I'll be intouch.

Lisa

Lisa McGlaun said...

Mike,

Grace Lee Boggs is a remarkable woman. The more I read the more I want to know. She has made such an impact on the city of Detroit and our country through her work with her husband.

Peace,
Lisa

AngelasGiftNook said...

Wow! She sounds like a great woman.

Love your posts. They are very interesting.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thanks Angela. Keep coming back if you like. The feedback is what makes doing this blog so interesting.

Peace,
Lisa

thewishfulwriter said...

wow. i'd never heard of her either - amazing.

Detroit needs a bunch more like her - she has her work cut out for her, but sounds like if anyone can do it, she can.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Heather,

I didn't know about her either until just recently. Sometimes I feel like I've gone through much of my life with my head buried in the sand..not really seeing what is going on around me. It's good to know that there are people like Grace Lee Boggs who've always looked to the sky.

Lisa

Adrienne Zurub said...

What a phenomenal woman! Thanks for bringing her to our attention!

Adrienne Zurub
author,
'NOtes From the Mothership The Naked Invisibles' due out 11/2007
http://chasewundelickpublishers.com.cn

Adrienne Zurub said...

What a phenomenal woman! Thanks for bringing her to our attention!

Adrienne Zurub
author,
'NOtes From the Mothership The Naked Invisibles' due out 11/2007
http://chasewundelickpublishers.com.cn

mj4jc said...

This woman was phenomenal. I am posting a link on my blog to this page http:/viewofdetroit.blogger.com
Detroit needs to read more positive things like this.

Lisa McGlaun said...

mj4jc,

Thanks for the compliment and the link. But I can't get your link to work. I wanted to check out your blog..:(

If you see this, please try again to post your link.

Lisa

mj4jc said...

Lisa, this is mj4jc once again. I apologize for the link problem.
this is my blog address.
http://viewofdetroit.blogspot.com/

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