In Love and Struggle

The Revolutionary Lives of James and Grace Lee Boggs

By Stephen M. Ward

464 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5923-7
    Published: February 2020
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1770-1
    Published: September 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4053-0
    Published: September 2016

Justice, Power, and Politics

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James Boggs (1919-1993) and Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) were two largely unsung but critically important figures in the black freedom struggle. Born and raised in Alabama, James Boggs came to Detroit during the Great Migration, becoming an automobile worker and a union activist. Grace Lee was a Chinese American scholar who studied Hegel, worked with Caribbean political theorist C. L. R. James, and moved to Detroit to work toward a new American revolution. As husband and wife, the couple was influential in the early stages of what would become the Black Power movement, laying the intellectual foundation for racial and urban struggles during one of the most active social movement periods in recent U.S. history.


Stephen Ward details both the personal and the political dimensions of the Boggses' lives, highlighting the vital contributions these two figures made to black activist thinking. At once a dual biography of two crucial figures and a vivid portrait of Detroit as a center of activism, Ward's book restores the Boggses, and the intellectual strain of black radicalism they shaped, to their rightful place in postwar American history.

About the Author

Stephen M. Ward is associate professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.
For more information about Stephen M. Ward, visit the Author Page.


"Fills a gaping hole not just in the history of the lives of two extraordinary activists, but in the history of the 20th century U.S. Left, and the history of Detroit. People interested in any of the above should read this book."--

Against the Current

"Will intrigue readers interested in the history of Detroit, black radicalism, civil rights, antidiscrimination efforts, social justice work, and urban activism."--Library Journal

“Examines the intersections among Marxism, socialism, communism, Pan Africanism, labor activism, and civil rights in the 20th century. Recommended.”--Choice

“Ward's painstaking attention to the ideas of both James and Grace Lee Boggs helps to illuminate the rigor of their revolutionary thought, and he elegantly traces their shift from workers' liberation to black liberation.”--Michigan Historical Review

“A fascinating exploration of the labyrinthine world of mid-20th century American Marxist factionalism.”--Labour/ Le Travail

“Historian Stephen M. Ward's long-anticipated biography of the Detroit-based radical activist couple James and Grace Lee Boggs was well worth the wait. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, the book weaves together the story of the couple’s forty-year intellectual and romantic partnership with the history of black working-class insurgency in Detroit and the US black freedom movement.”--Journal of African American History