IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.
Born to Chinese immigrants, Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was an author and philosopher who founded community organizations and political movements, lectured widely on human rights, and wrote books on her evolving vision of a revolution in America.
A brilliant scholar, she enrolled at 16 at Barnard College, graduated in 1935 with a degree in philosophy, and in 1940 earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. She found a job with the University of Chicago’s philosophy library that paid only $10 a week, a stipend so low she was forced to find free housing in a rat-filled basement. One day, as Lee Boggs was walking through her neighborhood, she came across a group of people protesting poor living conditions — which included rat-infested housing. This, Lee Boggs recalled, connected her with the black community for the very first time. In 1953, Lee Boggs moved to Detroit and married James Boggs, a black autoworker, writer, and radical activist.
Lee Boggs founded food cooperatives and community groups to support the elderly, organized unemployed workers, and fought utility shut-offs. In columns for a local weekly newspaper, The Michigan Citizen, she promoted civic reforms. In 1992, she co-founded Detroit Summer, a youth program that repairs homes, paints murals, organizes music festivals, and turns vacant lots into community gardens. In 2013, she opened the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, a charter elementary school. In her last book, Ms. Boggs aligned herself with revolutionaries in the spirit of Thoreau, Gandhi, and Dr. King.
Grace Lee Boggs, Human Rights Advocate for 7 Decades, Dies at 100
New York Times