Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100

Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs died peacefully in her sleep at her home Oct. 5 in Detroit, the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership said in a statement.

The center described her as an “internationally known philosopher activist for justice” who had “been politically active since the 1930s working with A. Phillip Randolph’s first march on Washington and later C.L.R. James.”

President Barack Obama issued a statement mourning the activist, and praising her perseverance. “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.”

For more than 40 years she worked with her late husband James Boggs “in advancing ideas of revolution and evolution for the 20th and 21st centuries,” the statement said.

The couple “helped organize SOSAD, WePros, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Gardening Angels and Detroit Summer.”

Her achievements include having “helped organize the 1963 March down Woodward Avenue with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Grassroots Leadership Conference with Malcolm X.”

She was “active in labor, civil rights, Black Power, women and environmental justice movements.”

The centenarian, who was born June 27, 1915, “was a founding member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership and was a strong advocate for place based education and supported the James and Grace Lee Boggs School,” the statement said.

“Grace died as she lived surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas,” Alice Jennings and Shea Howell, two of her trustees, said in the statement.

According to the center, a memorial celebrating Boggs’ life will be announced at a later date.

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