“You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.”

— Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs was born in 1915 above her father’s  restaurant in Rhode Island. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, her family moved to New York City when she was young. It was here where Grace began learning about and experiencing anti-Asian racism. 

Boggs was a talented student, enrolling at Barnard College at the age of 16. She would go on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and later a PhD in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. 

Later in her adulthood, Boggs moved to Chicago, often experiencing difficulty finding employment due to her race. Once she found employment, the pay was not enough for her to survive—forcing her to live in a rat-infested basement. 

Through the poor living conditions of Chicago for herself and too many others, Boggs was called to a life of activism. She saw connections between the struggle Black Americans were facing, and her own.  She soon became involved in grassroots organizations like the SouthSide Tenants Organization and the Socialist Workers Party. 

Boggs later moved to Detroit, where her activism continued, becoming the editor for the radical newspaper, Correspondence. There, she met her husband, James Boggs, and together they became strong advocates for the underserved in the Detroit community. 

Later in her life, Boggs shifted her perspective from revolutionaries to “solutionaries” in which solutions and strategies for survival were centered. Bogg’s impressive life of activism is a tremendous inspiration to modern day activists everywhere.