The trailblazing feminist author, critic, and activist bell hooks passed away on Wednesday at her home in Berea, Kentucky.
A press release from her niece Ebony Motley confirmed that hooks, born Gloria Jean Watkins, had been ill and was surrounded by family and close friends when she passed, Kentucky reports.
“The family of @bellhooks is sad to announce the passing of our sister, aunt, great aunt and great great aunt. The author, professor, critic and feminist made her transition early this am from her home, surrounded by family and friends.” Motley tweeted.
The family of @bellhooks is sad to announce the passing of our sister, aunt, great aunt and great great aunt. The author, professor, critic and feminist made her transition early this am from her home, surrounded by family and friends. 🖤
— Enter Ebony (@Enter_Ebony) December 15, 2021
Born in Hopkinsville, KY on September. 25, 1952, hooks gained recognition through her acclaimed literary works Ain’t I a Woman and All About Love. She attended Stanford University in California before obtaining a master’s in English at the University of Wisconsin.
She published over 30 books over the course of her career that eloquently covered topics surrounding race, feminism, capitalism, and intersectionality. Her signature pen name came from her maternal great-grandmother’s name whom she admired and used lowercase letters to distinguish herself from her family member, The Guardian reports.
hooks’ published her first book Ain’t I a Woman? in 1981. The book became a staple in feminist text and was named one of the twenty most influential women’s books in the last 20 years by Publishers Weekly in 1992.
Other books she published include her 1984 release Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, the 2000 book All About Love: New Visions, and 20004’s We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity.
She had been teaching at Berea College in Kentucky since 2004. The liberal arts college is known for offering students free tuition.
She held previous teaching positions at Stanford University, Yale University, Oberlin College in Ohio and The City College of New York before returning to Kentucky to teach at Berea College. Berea is the home of the bell hooks Institute, NPR reports.
“I want my work to be about healing,” hooks said while being inducted into the Kentucky Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2018.
“I am a fortunate writer because every day of my life practically I get a letter, a phone call from someone who tells me how my work has transformed their life.”