Black feminist writer bell hooks dies at 69

Black feminist writer bell hooks dies at 69

Gloria Jean Watkins, the late Black feminist author and intellectual known by her pen name bell hooks, is pictured in this undated image obtained by Reuters on December 16, 2021.

Courtesy of bell hooks' family/Handout via REUTERS

The activist and feminist intellectual, whose real name is Gloria Jean Watkins, was known for her pioneering work on racism, feminism, and gender

Black feminist intellectual bell hooks, whose pioneering work took on new urgency amid the racial justice protests that swept the United States in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, died Wednesday, December 15 at her home in Berea, Kentucky, her sisters said.

Hooks was the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins, who used the lower case moniker to honor her grandmother.

“The family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister,” sisters Gwenda Motley and Valeria Watkins said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Hooks died at home, surrounded by family and friends, they said. She was 69.

The fourth of seven siblings, hooks was born in 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

She published her first book of poems in 1978, and by the end of her life had written 40 books that have been translated into 15 languages, her sisters said.

After studying and teaching at several universities, she returned to Kentucky, teaching at Berea College, which established the bell hooks center as an inclusive space for historically under-represented students.

Her work on racism, feminism, gender, and other issues drew particular attention during the 2020 protests.

“The family is honored that Gloria received numerous awards, honors and international fame for her works as poet, author, feminist, professor, cultural critic and social activist,” her sisters wrote.

“We are proud to call her sister, friend, confidant and influencer.” –