Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015)

Grace Lee Boggs at the CAAMFest 2014 screening of American Revolutionary. Photo credit: Leanne Koh.
The 100 year-old activist, who was involved in the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice and feminist movements, died this morning in Detroit, Michigan.
[Update: President Obama has issued a statement about Grace Lee Boggs’ passing: “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.”]

We just learned that 100 year-old Chinese American activist Grace Lee Boggs passed away this morning.

“She left this life as she lived it: surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas,” said her friends and caretakers Shay Howell and Alice Jennings, Democracy Now! reports.

Boggs has been involved in many social movements, including the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice and feminist movements. She co-founded the Detroit Summer youth program. She was married to late African American activist James Boggs.

Grace Lee Boggs held her own as an activist involved in many social justice movements for 70 years.



Grace Lee Boggs was also a writer and philosopher. At age 95, she published The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, her fifth book, co-written by Scott Kurashige.


Grace Lee Boggs was active in her chosen local community of Detroit, Michigan. Boggs was born in Providence, Rhode Island, above her father’s restaurant, in 1915.

Grace Lee Boggs engaged with the youth.


Rest in Power, Grace Lee Boggs.


Boggs is the subject of filmmaker Grace Lee’s documentary, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which looks at the philosopher, writer and activist’s life. The documentary has received numerous accolades, including a 2015 Peabody Award. The film is, in part, funded by CAAM.

In 2014, CAAM screened the film at CAAMFest. Grace Lee Boggs flew out to San Francisco and attended the packed screening at the Castro Theatre.

Learn more about Boggs in the documentary, now streaming on POV for the next month.

GIFs created by Ines Chan from American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs.