Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was an activist, writer, and speaker whose seven decades of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of the past hundred years. A daughter of Chinese immigrants, Boggs received her B.A. from Barnard College (1935) and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College (1940). She developed a twenty-year political relationship with the black Marxist, C.L.R. James, followed by extensive Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activism in Detroit in partnership with husband and black autoworker, James Boggs (1919-93).
Grace Lee Boggs’ published writings include Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (with James Boggs, Monthly Review Press, 1974; reissued with new introduction by Grace Lee Boggs, 2008); Conversations in Maine: Exploring Our Nation’s Future (with James Boggs, Freddy Paine, and Lyman Paine; South End Press, 1978); Living for Change: An Autobiography (University of Minnesota, 1998), and and weekly column for the Michigan Citizen. Her writings and interviews with her have also been widely disseminated through newspapers, magazines, websites, and academic journals.
Right up until her 100th year, Grace remained much in demand as a public speaker and exceptionally active as a community activist. Her many honors included honorary doctorates from the University of Michigan, Wooster College, Kalamazoo College, and Wayne State University; lifetime achievement awards from the Detroit City Council, Organization of Chinese Americans, Anti-Defamation League (Michigan), Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and Association for Asian American Studies; Detroit News Michiganian of the Year; and a place in both the National Women’s Hall of Fame and Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. She is the subject of a Peabody Award-winning documentary, American Revolution: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by L.A. filmmaker Grace Lee.
James Boggs (1919-1993) was an American political activist, auto worker and author.
He was perhaps best known for authoring, The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook in 1963. He was also an auto worker at Chrysler from 1940 until 1968. James was active in the far left organization, Correspondence Publishing Committee, led by C.L.R. James. When Correspondence Publishing Committee suffered a split in 1955 and lost nearly half its membership, James and Grace Lee Boggs remained loyal to Correspondence Publishing Committee and an exiled C.L.R. James who advised the group from Britain. James Boggs was named the editor of their bi-monthly publication, also known as Correspondence, in 1955. However, political differences with C.L.R. James over time would eventually lead Boggs to take control over Correspondence Publishing Committee in 1962 and continue publication independently for a couple of years. James Boggs's many other works include Racism and the Class Struggle: Further Pages from a Black Worker's Notebook (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970) and Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (with Grace Lee Boggs; New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974).
In later years, he would play an influential role in the radical wing of the civil rights movement and interacted with many of the most important civil rights activists of the day including Malcolm X, Ossie Davis, and many others.
James and Grace were married for forty years until his death in 1993.