Legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100

Detroit icon was an activist for civil rights, Black Power, labor and environmental justice movements.

Some sad news to share... Legendary activist, writer and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs has died.

Boggs, who celebrated her 100th birthday in June, was an internationally known philosopher and activist in civil rights, Black Power, labor and environmental justice and feminist movements over the past seven decades. According to friends, she died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Detroit on Monday morning.

Boggs had been politically active since the 1930s, for known working on A. Phillip Randoph's first march on Washington and years of political collaboration with C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 50s. For more than forty years, she worked closely with her late husband James Boggs in advancing ideas of revolution and evolution for the 20th and 21st centuries until his death in 1993.

In 1963, Boggs helped organize the march down Woodward Avenue with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Message from the Grassroots conference with Malcolm X. Later, she helped organize SOSAD, WePros, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Gardening Angels.

She also co-founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective" that has served as a training ground for activists, attracting young people from around the country since 1994.

Boggs was also a founding member of the nonprofit James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, whose mission is "to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities." A public charter school, the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, was named for her in 2013.

She was the author of several books, including most recently, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, co-written with Scott Kurashige. She was also the subject of the PBS documentary American Revolutionary, directed by Grace Lee.

"Grace died as she lived surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas," said Alice Jennings and Shea Howell, two of her trustees.

A memorial celebrating her life will be announced later.

More here: Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit activist, dies at age 100

UPDATE Here is President Obama's statement on the passing of Grace Lee Boggs:

Statement by the President on the Passing of Grace Lee Boggs

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.


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