“The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others”

bell hooks

Born in 1952 into a family of nine, Gloria Jean Watkins grew up in the segregated south. One of seven children, Watkins’ father was a custodial worker, and her mother was a homemaker. As a child, Watkins showed promise and passion by performing poetry at her local church. 

Watkins’ pseudonym, bell hooks, came from the influence of her grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. Intentionally leaving her pseudonym uncapitalized, hooks wanted folks to focus on her work and ideas rather than her name. 

After attending segregated public schools, bell hooks would go on to attend and graduate from Stanford University in 1973. Furthering her education, she would receive a masters degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Ph.D from the University of California- Santa Cruz. 

hooks’ first published work, And There We Wept was a collection of poetry that was released in 1978. Other notable works of hers were, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, All About Love, and Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery

bell hooks was a critical voice in the Black Feminist movement. She often explored the topics of racism, sexism, and feminism in her works, highlighting the experience of Black women in America. The work she left behind remains a vital source of knowledge, inspiration, and resilience.