Legendary activist, philosopher, author, educator and longtime Detroit resident Grace Lee Boggs died at home in her sleep early this morning. In June she had celebrated her 100th birthday by participating in a peace march.
Boggs, who was the daughter of the owner of a successful Chinese restaurant in New York, entered Barnard at 16, where she first encountered the work of Marx and Hegel, and received her Ph.D in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in 1940. In 1953, active in the labor and racial equality movements, she met Jimmy Boggs, an African-American auto worker and poltical activist and invited him to dinner at her house. That evening he asked her to marry him. Devoted to each other and to working for racial, social and economic justice, their union lasted 40 years, until his death.
A true American hero, Boggs, brilliant and indefatigable, with a literal belief in the promises made by our Constitution, had said of her remarkable life and the work she pursued for three-quarters of a century, “I have endured and I have changed…ideas have their power because they’re not fixed.”