Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Multicultural lounge on North Campus will be named for activist Grace Lee Boggs

Activist, writer and speaker Grace Lee Boggs will become the newest honoree among University Housing’s multicultural councils. On Sunday, she will be the featured guest at the dedication of the Grace Lee Boggs multicultural lounge in Baits II Housing.

The dedication program, including remarks by Boggs, is open to the public. It will begin at 3 p.m. in the Coman House of Baits II Housing, 1440 Hubbard Road, on the North Campus. A reception will follow the program.

The Baits Multicultural Council was instrumental in selecting Boggs as the honoree, working with University Housing’s Office of Cultural Awareness and Diversity Education.

“We are thrilled that Ms. Boggs has accepted the honor, and we are looking forward to her participation in the ceremony,” says Robbie Townsel-Ransom, director of the Office of Cultural Awareness and Diversity Education. “Her work is so extensive, encompassing the major social movements in this country during the past 70 years: labor, civil rights, environment, Black Power, as well as Asian American and women's justice.”

Born in 1915 in Providence, R.I., to Chinese immigrant parents, Boggs received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College in l935 and her doctorate in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in l940.

In the l940s and ’50s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C.L.R. James. In l953 she moved to Detroit where she married James Boggs, African-American labor activist, writer and strategist. Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for more than 40 years until his death in July l993. Their book, “Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,” was published in l974 and re-issued in 2009.

In 1992, with her husband, Shea Howell and others, she founded Detroit Summer, a multicultural and intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and re-spirit Detroit from the ground up. Currently she works with the Detroit City of Hope campaign and the Beloved Communities Initiative, and writes a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen.

Her autobiography, “Living for Change,” was published in 1998. Her many awards include an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan last December.

Within the University Housing residence halls, multicultural theme lounges are unique from other hall lounges in that they actively recognize and celebrate diverse cultures, peoples and themes. They are vital to Housing’s commitment to community and to support the appreciation of diversity within human populations, stimulate intercultural interaction and understanding, and provide supportive environments for all students. Each has its own customs and traditions as demonstrated through unique social, educational and cultural events and celebrations.