At the age of 95, legendary philosopher, activist and community organizer Grace Lee Boggs continues to spread the message that a revolutionary transformation of our society is not only possible, but necessary. In her new book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for The Twenty-first Century, written with University of Michigan Associate Professor Scott Kurashige, Boggs details her rich history of involvement in social activism over the past seven decades, including her experiences with critical figures in the nation’s social evolution like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this conversation with Nation intern Sara Jerving, Boggs outlines what she means by "revolution," saying that a real revolution isn't violent, but is a growing of our souls that results in a paradigm shift in how we view the system. Boggs points to Detroit, her home for more than 50 years, where the city's industrial skeleton is now serving as an incubator for new models of community. The devastation of deindustrialization in Detroit, Boggs says, has forced the city to change for the better, with the focus now on human interaction rather than consumption.
“There is this enormous hunger for some recognition of the power that we have within us to create the world anew,” she says. “You see this emerging in people at the grassroots [In Detroit] beginning to do things that are more in terms of human relationships… it’s a remarkable, wonderful thing to observe and be a part of.”