Beyond the Book
Approx. 432 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, bibl., index
Justice, Power, and Politics
The Revolutionary Lives of 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. James Boggs was the son of an Alabama sharecropper who came to Detroit during the Great Migration, becoming an automobile worker and a union leader. 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 labor and urban struggles during one of the most active social movement periods in modern U.S. history.
Stephen Ward details both the personal and the political dimensions of the Boggses’ lives, highlighting the vital contributions these two figures made to black activist thinking. At once a dual biography of two crucial figures and a vivid portrait of Detroit as a center of activism, Ward’s book restores the Boggses, and the intellectual strain of black radicalism they shaped, to their rightful place in postwar American history.
About the Author
“This fascinating biography examines the intellectual foundations of Black Power, labor, and urban struggles for equality through the lives of two estimable but understudied figures: James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs. The lovely thing about this book is that readers are privy not only to the personal stories of the Boggses, but also to a multilayered narrative that challenges us to think broadly about people’s political and emotional journeys into activism.”
–Rhonda Y. Williams, author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century