Meeting Grace Lee Boggs, I found it impossible not to think, I want to be her when I grow up. She’s a 96-year old dynamo who’s been involved in every major western social movement of the past 80 years. Sitting in the living room of the house she’s lived in in Detroit for 50 years, Grace talks to us about everything from contemporary social philosophy to Detroit-based hip hop artist, Invincible.
Like most of the residents I’ve met in the D, Grace is a doer. Seeing the struggles of her city, she works tirelessly to nurture community through her foundation, the Boggs Center, and create opportunities for the young people of the city through Detroit Summer.
Her latest book, The Next American Revolution, is a thoughtful look at the changes that need to take place in order to confront the new realities of the post-industrial world.
Learn more about Grace’s amazing life and read her thoughts on the changes taking place in Detroit in the first issue of The MASON.
My first trip to Detroit had a very specific purpose; we were doing field research for one of the features in the first issue of The MASON. Elyse & I, along with two of our amazing contributors, Shannon and Brittany, joined a sold out audience at the Detroit Institute of Art to catch the premiere of the new documentary, After the Factory.
Brain child of Detroit Lives! founder, Philip Lauri, this film compares the post-industrial struggles of Detroit and former textile town, Lodz, Poland. It highlights the resilience of their creative peoples, and is a beautiful depiction of finding beauty in unexpected places and perseverance in the face of adversity that manages to modulate the highs and lows of life after the factory.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion on many of the themes depicted in the film and the panelists’ ideas about the future of Detroit.. Philip encouraged the audience to consider how they will be part of the solution to the problems faced by the post-industrial world. Philosopher and activist, Grace Lee Boggs spoke about the power of soul – our inherent ability to create the world anew. Margaret Garry of the German Marshall Fund is an expert in international comparisons and believes in the importance of post-industrial cities learning from one another as they work to redefine themselves and build hope. Pastor Haman Cross Jr. of Rosedale Baptist Church spoke of the ability for people to reclaim their neighbourhoods and institute their own policies when governments fail them WDET reporter Martina Guzman praised the strength of Detroit’s neighbourhood, but spoke of the long road ahead, saying “Progress doesn’t take place like the shot out of a pistol.”
The after party was held in the film theatre’s beautiful Crystal Glow Cafe. The building is a stunning example of the kind of decadent and exquisitely detailed architecture you find in the city.
Elyse & I were beyond thrilled to have the chance to meet Philip and talk to him about The MASON. He was so enthusiastic about the project and immediately agreed to help us in any way he could. We even chatted about the possibility of screening the film in Canadian cities, so keep your eyes open for those details as they unfold.
You can look forward to sneak peaks of the film and an interview with Philip on representing post-industrial cities and inspiring others to be part of the solution. In the meantime, check out the trailer for After the Factory: