James and Grace Lee Boggs



James Boggs (1919-1993) and Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) were two largely unsung but critically important figures in the black freedom struggle. 

Born and raised in Alabama, James Boggs came to Detroit during the Great Migration, becoming a automobile worker and a union activist. Grace Lee was a Chinese American scholar who studied Hegel, worked with Caribbean political theorist C.L.R. James, and moved to Detroit to work toward a new American revolution. 

As husband and wife, the couple was influential in the early stages of what would become the Black Power movement, laying the intellectual foundation for racial and urban struggles during one of the most active social movements in recent U.S. history. 

“I don’t believe nobody in the country knows more about running this country than me” [laughter from class].  “I’m saying you better think that way.  You better stop and get out of this I’m a minority, cuz when you a minority you think like an underling, you don’t believe you capable of doing something and you begin to think all of the white folks or people of superior something can do things.”


James Boggs

From Prof. Jim Chaffer’s class, “Urban Redevelopment and Social  Justice,” University of Michigan 1991

The Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

3061 Field St., Detroit, MI 48214