bell hooks was an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist.
hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky. Her pen name was taken from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.
She published more than 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures addressing race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism. In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.
The author of more than three dozen wide-ranging books, hooks published her first title, the poetry collection And There We Wept, in 1978. Her influential book Ain't I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism followed in 1981. Three years later, her Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center explored and criticized the feminist movement's propensity to center and privilege white women's experiences.
Frequently, hooks' work addressed the deep intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and geographic place. She wrote about her native Appalachia, and growing up there as a Black girl, in the critical-essay collection belonging: a culture of place, and in the poetry collection Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place.