Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs
On the Jack Lessenberry blog, Mr. Lessenberry has a couple of posts (and podcasts) about the story of Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs.
Essay: Stranger Than Fiction - 2/16/06
There isn’t a better story in Michigan than this, and you’ve probably never heard it. Years ago, a Chinese-American woman with a Ph.D from Bryn Mawr moved to Detroit to publish a newsletter.
She was a follower of an obscure Caribbean leader of a tiny Marxist sect. One night, Grace Lee invited one of the sect’s few other local members for dinner. She barely knew him.
He was a black autoworker from Alabama, with an eighth-grade education and six kids. He showed up two hours late. He told her he didn’t like what she had made for dinner and sneered at her taste in music. And then, he asked her to marry him. And she said yes. [...]
He also has an interview with Ms. Boggs here
. What is interesting about this story, is that Mr. Boggs ended up writing a widely-acclaimed book, despite his low level of formal education.
His 1963 book, The American Revolution: Notes From a Negro Worker’s Notebook, was so brilliant it drew a fan letter from Bertrand Russell, then the best-known philosopher living.
Between the two of them, they anticipated some of the consequences of increasing mechanization of the auto industry.
He was black, she Chinese-American, and together they tried to come up with a new vision for a post-industrial Detroit. Now she is 90 and still trying to change the city. Among other things, she is the guiding spirit of Detroit Summer. It’s an annual program that brings school children together with older generations to “rebuild Detroit from the ground up.”
It is a great human-interest story, and a great local-history story.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5