In Memoriam: bell hooks, 1952-2021

The leading feminist scholar bell hooks, the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College in Kentucky, died at her home in Berea on December 15, from kidney failure. She was 69 years old.

Professor hooks was born with the name Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1952. Her father was a custodian and her mother was a maid. She excelled in school and earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Stanford University. She went on to earn a master’s degree in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Professor hooks began her academic career as a senior lecturer in ethnic studies at the University of Southern California. It was during this time that she adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as a pen name but used lower-case letters to defer to her elder.

Over the years, Professor hooks taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Oberlin College in Ohio. In 1994, she was named a Distinguished Professor of English at the City College of New York. She founded an institute that bears her name at Berea College in 2014 and donated her papers to the college in 2017.

Professor hooks was the author of more than 30 books including Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism (South End Press, 1981), Feminism Is for Everyone: Passionate Politics (Routledge, 2000), and Rock My Soul: Black People and Self Esteem (Atria Books, 2003).


Comments (5)

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  1. HBCU Watch says:

    Condolences to bell hooks family and friends. Let’s be clear for a moment. bell hooks was no true friends to native born Black American men based upon her body of work along with her questionable interactions with longtime former CIA operative Gloria Steinem who worked tirelessly to undermine Black men and their “revolutionary movement” within a US context. Respectfully.

    • Marie Nadine Pierre says:

      Jah & Jahes love. I wish that you would elaborate about those claims I knew a lot of people who were close to her and I never heard any of them say that about her. Besides, she was also an ADOS ( American Descendants of Slaves). But, she was a product of her environment and she seemed to like being around certain “smart” and exotic foreign intellectuals from Asia.
      Blessed love. #Ayiti #1804 #bellehooks #AllAboutLove #BlackLove

      • HBCU Watch says:

        Hey Marie,
        Your dimwitted comment clearly shows complicity. It appears to me that you have consumed too much joumou, pikliz, and bouillon soup along with a smattering of years of miseducation. Time to eat your daily pain patate!

  2. HBCU Watch says:

    Hey Marie,

    You need to familiarize yourself with the article titled “BLACK FEMINISM, THE CIA AND GLORIA STEINEM” and can accessed via to better understand my point.

  3. Blackscholar says:

    People need to recognize that FEMISNISM is a White American construct specifically for White American Women and Not so-called Black American women. Therefore, any so-called Black American women who self-identifies as a “Feminist” has a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome and Cognitive Dissonance.

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