Afro Mundo: American Revolutionary
7:00 pm: Social Justice Film Screening, Panel Discussion to immediately follow.
What does it mean to be an American revolutionary today? Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution will surprise you. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.
The documentary film, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century; from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Boggs’s constantly evolving strategy—her willingness to re-evaluate and change tactics in relation to the world shifting around her—drives the story forward.
Free Community Event
Runtime: 82 minutes
Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Bill Ayers, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Boggs’s late husband James and a host of Detroit comrades across three generations help shape this uniquely American story. As she wrestles with a Detroit in ongoing transition, contradictions of violence and non-violence, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the 1967 rebellions, and non-linear notions of time and history, Boggs emerges with an approach that is radical in its simplicity and clarity: revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience — the ability to transform oneself to transform the world.
As it kinetically unfurls an evolving life, city, and philosophy, American Revolutionary takes the viewer on a journey into the power of ideas and the necessity of expansive, imaginative thinking, as well as ongoing dialectical conversation, to propel societal change.
Produced and directed by Grace Lee (Jeaneane from Des Moines, The Grace Lee Project), edited by Kim Roberts (Food Inc, Waiting for Superman, Lost Boys of Sudan, Inequality For All), produced by Caroline Libresco (Sunset Story) and Austin Wilkin (Bob The Monster), and with a lush score by Vivek Maddala (Kaboom, Highway), American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, has been 12 years in the making. It incorporates a rich archival trove from the 1920s to the present and visual effects to reinforce Boggs’s statement that history “is the story of the past as well as the future.” Animated graphics by Syd Garon and Casey Ryder from Studio Number One bring Boggs’s whirring mind to life, illustrating her view that ideas are not fixed, but that once they become fixed, they are dead.
In an age when seemingly insurmountable injustices and contradictions face us, American Revolutionary inspires concerned citizens and dreamers of all ages with new thinking to sustain their struggle and engagement.