Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History, Volume VI

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This is Grace Lee Boggs. She's going to be 93 this year, and has spent her life as an activist.

Born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1915, Grace received her B.A. from Barnard College in 1935 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in 1940. In the 1940s and 1950s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C.L.R.James and in 1953 she came to Detroit where she married James Boggs, African American labor activist, writer and strategist. Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for over 40 years until James death in July 1993. Their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, was published by Monthly Review Press in 1974.

For the most part, I don't agree with her politics.

For the most part, I don't care much for her writing style.

But this is a woman who pushed the envelope. She chose an inter-racial marriage in an era where such a thing was considered wildly inappropriate in the best case, a criminal offense in the worst. She chose to become a educated, female, Chinese-American activist at a time when doing so was so far out of the mainstream she was considered a freak.

And she did so with dignity, without apology, and while evolving her worldview and politics to accommodate change.

Ill-behaved by anyone's definition. Thank you, Grace Lee Boggs, for being unafraid, and for making history.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

I love your badly behaved women.

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks, Nathan. I like them, too.

There's something about a person who "sticks it to the man" without being concerned about what Mrs. Grundy thinks that tickles me down to my toes.