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More than 500 people celebrated the life and work of social activist Grace Lee Boggs at a 100th birthday party Friday evening.

“Grace has worked tirelessly for redefining revolution, reimagining our city,” said Rich Feldman, a member of the planning committee for the event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Boggs, who turns 100 on Saturday, was unable to attend due to her health, but the party was livestreamed into her home, Feldman said. Partygoers young and old danced to upbeat music and ate cake and fruit.

One of the attendees was Charlie Bolden, who has done some artwork for Boggs.

“I just hope I can be a speck of the reflection of the life she had in the struggle,” he said.

In 1995, Boggs started the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership in Detroit.

Myrtle Curtis Thompson, an urban farmer, said Boggs has been an inspiration since she met her in 2008. She’s traveled across the country with Boggs as she spoke about her book, film and social justice farming.

“She’s been challenging me since the day that I met her to be a better person,” she said. “To open my mind and imagine the world I want to see. ... She’s always asking me what are you reading? What are you writing?”

Boggs’ husband, James, died in 1993.

Feldman said well wishers will be able to tell Boggs happy birthday Saturday at the end of a Silence the Violence parade that starts at the Church of the Messiah, 231 East Grand, and will end at Boggs’ home.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2311

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