The Strategist's Best Books About Asian American Identity, New York Magazine
The pioneering Asian American labor organizer and writer’s vision for intersectional and anti-racist activism.
In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements—for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times.
From her home in Detroit, she reveals how hope and creativity are overcoming despair and decay within the most devastated urban communities. Her book is a manifesto for creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction that will collectively constitute the next American Revolution—which is unraveling before our eyes.
Boggs (co-author, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century), the 96-year old activist who co-organized Detroit's 1963 Freedom Now march, examines the need for a new revolution to address the "triple crises of global wars, global economic turmoil, and global warming." Referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideas about the inverse relationship between monetary and moral wealth (i.e. an increase in the former begets a decrease in the latter), Boggs suggests that America's consumer-driven society puts an untenable (and immoral) strain on world resources to teach the importance of providing for others and for oneself, she highlights "new activism" programs like the Earthworks Garden in Detroit. Boggs also calls for a paradigm shift in education, to eliminate outmoded "command and control" factory models in favor of community-based, democratic methods that promote real problem-solving and embrace children's humanity. University of Michigan Associate Professor Kurashige (The Shifting Grounds of Race) pieced together Boggs's speeches and writings for this volume, and though lovingly produced, it feels uneven. Framing this as an anthology with context for each piece would have yielded a smoother read. Nonetheless, this is a much-deserved celebration of an accomplished activist, yielding lessons in civil rights history, stark assessments of today's troubles, and worthy ideas to frame a better tomorrow.