Grace Lee Boggs

GraceThis piece was developed during the second Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO) Study Cohort 2016-2017.  These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection.  For more information regarding the BIO Study Cohort go here.

By Jeannette Ban, 10/7/17

Grace Lee Boggs
Born: June 27, 1915 Providence, Rhode Island
Died:  October 5, 2015 Detroit, MI

Our challenge, as we enter the new millennium, is to deepen the commonalities and the bonds between these tens of millions, while at the same time continuing to address the issues within our local communities by two-sided struggles that not only say ‘no’ to the existing power structure but also empower our constituencies to embrace the power within each of us to create the world anew.

-From The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs

Until her death in 2015, Grace Lee Boggs lived, marched, and dreamed among her beloved community of 55 years in Detroit, Michigan. “I stayed involved because I stayed,” she said.[1] Detroit glows at the center of her tale, a city tumbling continuously through the chaos of automation and industrial collapse. Mirroring its periods of bloom and decay, Grace’s journey as an activist spanned the Marxist movement in the 1960s to the Black Power movement in the 1970s, culminating in a community-centered and community-led philosophy until her death. Continue reading “Grace Lee Boggs”

A Revolutionary Period

Grace LeeDay 36 of our Lenten Journey continues beyond “Beyond Vietnam.”  What now?  For our final dozen days, we will listen to voices calling us onwards, to live out the legacy of Dr. King.  

From the late Grace Lee Boggs (photo right, with husband Jimmy) in The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century (2012)

…we need to see ourselves not as victims but as new men and women who, recognizing the sacredness in ourselves and in others, can view love and compassion, in the words of Martin Luther King, not as “some sentimental and weak response” but instead as “the key that unlocks the doors which leads to ultimate reality.” Continue reading “A Revolutionary Period”

100 Years of Grace

Grace lee boggsHappy 100th Birthday this weekend to Grace Lee Boggs: activist, author, animator of Life. To celebrate: a word of inspiration from her book The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century (2011):

When you read Marx (or Jesus) this way, you come to see that real wealth is not material wealth and real poverty is not just the lack of food, shelter, and clothing. Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth is not the possession of property but the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is to keep developing our natural and acquired powers to relate to other human beings.

A Two-Sided Transformational Process

graceFrom Grace Lee Boggs in The Next American Revolution (2012):

Radical social change had to be viewed as a two-sided transformational process, of ourselves and of our institutions, a process requiring protracted struggle and not just a D-Day replacement of one set of rulers with another. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 was the first struggle by an oppressed people in Western society from this new philosophical/political perspective…not only desegregating the buses but creating the beloved community.

Grace Lee Boggs Keeps On Organizing

We join all other activists & artists of faith & conscience in praying for the ailing Grace Lee Boggs, 99 years into a Life of visionary organizing: May she experience clarity, compassion & comfort in the days ahead:

The next American Revolution, at this stage in our history, is not principally about jobs or health insurance or making it possible for more people to realize the American Dream of upward mobility. It is about acknowledging that we Americans have enjoyed middle-class comforts at the expense of other peoples all over the world. It is about living the kind of lives that will not only slow own global warming but also end the galloping inequality both inside this country and between the Global North and the Global South. It is about creating a new American Dream whose goal is a higher Humanity instead of the higher standard of living dependent on Empire. It is about practicing a new, more active, global, and participatory concept of citizenship. It is about becoming the change we wish to see in the world. (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism For The 21st Century, 2012)