A Woman to Know: Grace Lee Boggs

You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be. And you do choose how you think. - Grace

Yesterday Grace Lee Boggs died in her house in Detroit, the house she had lived in for 50-plus years of non-stop community organizing, national activism and ceaseless speechifying. She was dedicated to revitalizing her city — she painted murals, she transformed vacant lots into community gardens and she partnered with local teens and students to repair crumbling neighborhoods, block by block.

There's not a national movement she didn't touch — she was affiliated with the Black Power movement in the 1960s, 1970s feminism and, of course, the continuing fight to save the city of Detroit from blight and poverty. Her quotes have been immortalized as scripture for the beginning activist, and Boggs celebrated her 100th birthday this past June with multiple parties.

“Because I was born to Chinese immigrant parents and because I was born female — I learned very quickly that the world needed changing,” she told Angela Davis in 2012. “But what I also learned as I grew older was that how we change the world and how we think about changing the world has to change.”

I'm actually in the midst of writing and filing an obituary for this wonderfully crazy woman — I'll blog the link on Tumblr later today, or you can find it this afternoon at washingtonpost.com.


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