Grace's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Northern Route

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Detroit, MI

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 2

  • ON DVD:

GRACE LEE BOGGS

Social Activist/Writer/Founder
Boggs Center

“In order to change society, we have to transform ourselves.”

INTERESTS:

Non-Profit Organizations Politics Writing

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Beliefs & Faith Culture Dedication Fulfillment Societal Pressures Success

FOUNDATION:

Upholding a cause I believe in

TAGS:

change, civil rights, creativity, crime, depression, Detroit, discrimination, economy, march on washington, minority, philosophy, politics, rebellion, respect, responsibility, revolution, society, understanding, violence, World War II

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Studied European philosophy; got her Ph.D. in 1940, the year France fell to the Nazis: “all of a sudden, there was Europe in chaos.”
  • Knew after school, she was going to have a tough time finding a job as an Asian-American woman, even with her Ph.D.
  • Didn’t grow up politically minded, didn’t consider herself a radical, but she always knew “there were things that needed to change.”
  • First inspired after the March on Washington Movement successfully forced passage of Executive Order 8802, ending discrimination in defense industry.
  • After seeing “what a movement could do,” knew she wanted to become an activist in the black movement.
  • Moved to Detroit, once the epicenter of industrialization, to try to find solutions in the aftermath of the “exodus of the corporations.”
  • Mayor wanted to replace auto industry with casino industry, but she successfully fought against it, recognized that economy as “exploitative.”
  • Says that while “successful” is not a word she’d use to describe her life, it has been meaningful—“and isn’t that what we all want?”

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