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Author, scholar and activist bell hooks has emerged as one of the leading feminist figures of her era, and her writing and scholarly work has been studied by many budding feminists and activists for decades. Today is hooks’ birthday.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopskinsville, Ky. in 1952 she graduated from Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a B.A. and M.A., respectively. In 1983, she earned a doctorate in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz after teaching and writing for a handful of years.

As an educator, hooks has taught at several institutions, including the University of California, Oberlin College, and Yale University, among others. She wrote the first of her books, a collection of poems titled And There She Wept in 1978 while teaching. Since then, she has gone on to publish dozens of scholarly articles and books, catapulting to prominence by way of her second book, Feminist Theory: From Margin To Center, which established her as a leading voice.

Her stylized pen name is in honor of her mother and great-grandmother. The lower-case styling was a deliberate choice by hooks to keep the emphasis on the work she produced and not her name.

Today, hooks is the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College in Kentucky, and where an institute named after her is also housed.

 

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Little Known Black History Fact: bell hooks was originally published on BlackAmericaWeb.com

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