Acclaimed author and activist Bell Hooks dies at 69

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Famous author and activist Bell Hooks died on Wednesday. She was 69 years old.

Hooks, real name Gloria Jean Watkins, was born September 25, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Her first published work, a collection of poems titled “And There Wept”, came out in 1978. She then published her first book “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism” in 1981.

Berea College in Kentucky, where Hooks worked as a teacher, said she died of an undisclosed illness.

“Bell entered the lives of many Bereans in 2004 to help the College come closer to its Great Commitments, in particular the Fifth Great Commitment focused on kinship of all and interracial education; the Sixth Great Commitment dedicated to gender equality; and the Eighth A Great Commitment centered on service to the Appalachians, ”the school wrote in a statement.

“In 2017, Bell dedicated his papers to Berea College, ensuring that future generations of Bereans will know about his work and the impact it has had on the intersections of race, gender, place, class and sexuality. “

Hooks wrote under the pen name bell hooks after his great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks.

Author and cultural critic Bell Hooks poses for a portrait on December 16, 1996 in New York City.File Karjean Levine / Getty Images

Her work includes around 40 books, many of which focus on topics related to feminism and race. She has won several awards, including the Writer’s Award from the Lila-Wallace — Reader’s Digest Fund, and has been named one of our country’s foremost public intellectuals by The Atlantic Monthly, according to The Poetry Foundation.

According to the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, where she was inducted in 2018, Hooks began writing poetry at the age of 10. As a youngster, she developed a strong voice against racism and sexism, which then filtered through her dozens of books and essays on the intersections of race, gender, class, and systems of oppression. and power.

Hooks began her groundbreaking book on black feminism, “Ain’t I a Woman” as a student at Stanford University, where she graduated in 1973. She went on to earn an MA in English from there. ‘University of Wisconsin-Madison and subsequently obtained a doctorate in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His doctoral thesis was on author Toni Morrison.

After teaching at UC-Santa Cruz, Hooks taught African American studies at Yale in 1988 and then went to Oberlin College, where she taught feminist studies. Before settling at Berea College in Kentucky, she also taught at City College in New York.

Over the course of her career, her books have introduced many people to feminist thought, particularly to forms of feminism that are more inclusive of the lives and concerns of black women and women of color. But some of his most influential writings were about love, especially in a series of books published in the early 2000s.

“I want my work to be about healing,” she said in 2018, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader. “I’m a lucky writer because every day of my life I practically receive a letter, a phone call from someone telling me how my work has transformed their life. “

This is a developing story; come back for updates.

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