Grace Lee Boggs '35, back row middle


Grace Chin Lee Boggs '35, a groundbreaking activist, writer, and philosopher, died at her home in Detroit on October 5, at the age of 100.

Today, Barnard College released this statement: "Barnard College expresses its deepest condolences on the death of activist and civil rights icon Grace Chin Lee Boggs, an alumna of the Class of 1935. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Boggs faced countless barriers in the academic world of the 1930s but, in her full century of life, she never wavered in her dedication to the labor, civil rights, and Black Power movements. She was proud of her connection to Barnard and recently returned to campus for the screening of a documentary on her extraordinary life. The College celebrates her inspiring achievements as a fearless role model for our students and women everywhere."

Boggs was born in 1915 and won a scholarship to attend Barnard. She received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in 1940 and became active in tenants’ rights after taking a low-wage job at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library. She moved to Detroit from New York after marrying African American auto worker and political activist James Boggs in 1953. They remained active and wrote books together, including Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, and founded Detroit Summer, a multicultural intergenerational youth program, in 1992. James died the following year. In 2011, Boggs wrote her fifth book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, with Scott Kurashige. She was awarded Barnard’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 2000. Read a full obituary in The Detroit Free Press.

A movie about her life and work, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, was screened at the 2014 Athena Film Festival, where Boggs spoke and took audience questions.