Living For Change: An Autobiography

Grace Lee Boggs

Book cover

Grace Lee Boggs is a fascinating person who I had never heard of until a friend recommended the movie “American Revolutionary,” which focuses on her life (it’s on Netflix; check it out!). GLB is a Chinese-American woman who was born in 1915, attended Barnard College and got a PhD in philosophy from Bryn Mawr, then became a political radical who spent her life in the black movement in the 50s, 60s and 70s, then in radical efforts to rebuild inner city Detroit from the 1980s through her death last year at the age of 100. Elise and I got this book from the library after watching the movie. While it definitely fleshed out some of the things that the movie necessarily had to skip over, it wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be. Her life is full of surprises–like how she identified so heavily with the black movement that she was basically totally uninvolved in the women’s liberation movement or any Asian-American activism–but she is only minimally self-reflective about that kind of thing. As much as she is dedicated to revolutionary study, she very much comes across as a person dedicated to action, and not really inclined to deep analysis or reflection. Nonetheless, she was an amazing person and I’m sad that I only learned about her after she died.

Watch the movie! If you like it, you can also listen to the “On Being” radio episode about GLB.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars