Remembering Grace Lee Boggs - American Revolutionary

Sarah Murali
Posted October 6, 2015 from United States

Grace Lee Boggs died today at the age of 100. She was a writer, activist, feminist and philsopher who worked tirelessly for a more just and equitable world. She was an incredible example of leadership.

To honor her memory, I would like to learn more about her incredible example of leadership, and I invite you to join me! If you are familiar with her work, please share your thoughts here. If not, I invite you to watch documentary about her life entitled, "American Revolutionary," or read her latest book, "The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty First Century." You can also read about her on Wikipedia here:, or learn about her life through this episode of the radio program "On Being" here

Who are some other remarkable women leaders the world should know about? Please reply with your answers!

Photo credit: By Kyle McDonald (Flickr: IMG_8554) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Oct 07, 2015
Oct 07, 2015

Grace Lee Boggs was an inspiring civil rights legend who had witnessed and thought deeply about issues of social justice, racial and gender equality, and the resurrection of community. Her values were lived out everyday in the city of Detroirt, a community she was embedded, rooted in and dedicated to.

Upon her passing, the Detroirt Free Press wrote: "A one-time Marxist, the Chinese-American Boggs’ ideological evolution led her to black revolution, black power, neighborhood organization and educational reform. She was an unrelenting critic of the cultural and economic conditions that contributed to Detroit’s decline, with a keen focus on the struggles of the city’s economic underclass. Her fierce intellect was uncompromising, demanding a constant evaluation of ideas and assumptions. Her guidance nurtured generations of activists who continue to play a role in the struggle to define and shape the city Boggs made her home."

Here is a link to her message to Occupy Wall Street from 2011. 

Sarah Murali
Oct 08, 2015
Oct 08, 2015

Thank you for your message, Janice! Grace Lee Boggs lead such a long and active life. There are so many elements to her story to learn!

In learning about Grace Lee Boggs I've also found myself learning a lot about the city of Detroit. I was shocked to hear that the city is so large, that Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco could all fit within Detroit's borders. At the same time, about a third of it is vacant! I wonder what other cities around the world have experienced a similar situation of having more land than their shrinking populations now need? Detroit is taking some interesting approaches to dealing with this situation, like encouraging higher levels of immigration and refugee resettlement, and starting a number of urban agriculture programs.  I'd be curious to know if other cities around the world have handled this situation in a similar or different way.

Nov 06, 2015
Nov 06, 2015

Hello Sarah,

Happy to connect with you again. Thanks a lot for the post. I have just learnt something from the inspirational story of Grace Lee Boggs and yes she lived a long remakable life. These are the kind of leaders that have made positive impacts in their communities. Her constant demand for evaluation of ideas and assumptions was something of worth in relation to our work today and in our different/ divers settings or communities.

These reminds us that we need to evaluate our ideas constanly and assumptions to help us make decisions that will give us solutions that are sustainable while helping others.

Another remarkable woman leader that the world should know about is Marilyn Carlson Nelson who has given powerful insights into leadership moments. In her book 'How we Lead matters' ( Reflections on a life of Leadership). 

The CEO of Carlson Hotels/ Companies, Marilyn is a woman that has a leadership style that leaves a person/ employee feeling resposible for his or her work, for self and others. It holds us responsible for what we do for others. Makes Leadership more of a guide and commitment to what we need done and for others to do for others. It helps us understand that a woman can stand out to make a positive change by evaluating ideas, assumptions or mistakes done before and to help make better more lasting solutions at work.

I qoute from her book.

Whatever you do, do with Integrity                                                       Wherever you go, go as a Leader                                                               Whoever you serve, serve with Caring                                                          Whenever you dream, dream with your All                                                 And never, ever give up.

That's Marilyn.

I read a copy of her book its very inpirational, easy to read and understand. Marilyn has always put people first. When her then 13 year old grandson Jamie asked a simple question about her life, she decided to write it all down - her fondest memories and deepest insights her book on 'How we Lead matters'. She is from Minnesota in the USA.

I will read more about Grace Lee Boggs. I never had a chance of reading about her.

Again, thanks a lot Sarah,

Warmest regards,


Rahmana Karuna
Nov 30, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

Thank you Sarah for informing us of Grace. Wish i would have met her. I grew up in detroit suburbia 1955-76. then Returned again in 1993-4. During my childhood people moved out to the suburbs if they could afford it. Detroit was always #1 murder city USA. At some point D.C. Became #1. So much rascism, poverty, drugs. On the bright side, home to Motown and there was always great music everywhere. Please keep us informed of your research