[bell hooks at The New School. Photo: Spencer Kohn, 2013]
Professor, author, and activist bell hooks, who explored and dissected social, political, gender and interpersonal issues in addition to intersectionality in works such as All About Love, Bone Black, Ain’t I a Woman, The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity & Love, Feminist Theory and Communion: The Female Search for Love, died today at 69.
She passed at home in Berea, Kentucky after an extended illness, according to a family statement from William Morrow Publishers and Berea College in Kentucky, which houses the bell hooks Institute.
Named Gloria Jean Watkins at birth, hooks was internationally known by her lowercase pen name ever since she published her 1978 collection of poems, And There We Wept. hooks took the name to honor her great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. (She was told often as a child that her quick thinking and outspokenness was like that of “Granny Bell.”)
The passing of bell hooks hurts, deeply. At the same time, as a human being I feel so grateful she gave humanity so many gifts. AIN’T I A WOMAN: BLACK WOMEN AND FEMINISM is one of her many classics. And ALL ABOUT LOVE changed me. Thank you, bell hooks. Rest in our love. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/lXnAlaZpng
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) December 15, 2021
To quote from Los Angeles Times:
She attended segregated schools in Kentucky’s Christian County, then went to Stanford University. She later earned a master’s degree in English at the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
She also founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College, which “celebrates, honors, and documents the life and work” of its namesake. hooks also served as a distinguished professor in residence in Appalachian studies there.
In 2017, she dedicated her papers to Berea College so that future generations would know her work and the impact she had on the intersections of race, gender, place, class and sexuality, the school said. The following year, she was inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.