bell hooks, groundbreaking feminist thinker, dies at 69

bell hooks (Wikimedia Commons)

bell hooks (Wikimedia Commons)

bell hooks, the groundbreaking author, educator and activist whose explorations of how race, gender, economics and politics were intertwined made her among the most influential thinkers of her time, has died. She was 69.

In a statement issued through William Morrow Publishers, hooks’ family announced that she died Wednesday in Berea, Kentucky, home to the bell hooks center at Berea College. Additional details were not immediately available.

“She was a giant, no nonsense person who lived by her own rules, and spoke her own truth in a time when Black people, and women especially, did not feel empowered to do that,” Dr. Linda Strong-Leek, a close friend and former provost of Berea College, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “It was a privilege to know her, and the world is a lesser place today because she is gone. There will never be another bell hooks.”

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Starting in the 1970s, hooks published dozens of books that helped shape popular and academic discourse. Her notable works included “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism,” “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” and “All About Love: New Visions.” Among her most famous expressions was her definition of feminism, which she called “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.”

hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins and gave herself the pen name bell hooks in honor of her maternal great-grandmother.

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