On Wednesday, the family of bell hooks — renowned feminist activist, cultural critic, writer, and professor — announced that she had died at 69. hooks, who was born Gloria Jean Watkins, grew up in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where she attended segregated schools. She went on to attend Stanford University and started her career as an English professor at the University of Southern California. In 1978, hooks — whose pen name paid tribute to her great-grandmother and who insisted on lowercase letters to keep focus on the substance of her books and “not who I am” — published her first book of poetry, And There We Wept. Over the next four decades, she went on to publish over 40 books, examining race, art, media, class, and more. She was a trailblazer of intersectional feminism, her 1981 book Ain’t I A Woman? examining the effects of racism and sexism on Black women with unflinching clarity and insight.
On Twitter, writers paid tribute to her enduring impact and legacy.