March 13, 2013

Wednesday's Woman to Woman Salute:
bell hooks

There has been a lot of talk about "leaning in," but I want to talk about a lady badd with the pen. Today we celebrate bell hooks, and no that is not a typo! She has authored over 30 publications, including the critically acclaimed "Ain't I A Woman?: Black Women and Feminism." She has stood out as an advocate for equality across gender, race, and class- acknowledging the challenges in intersection. hooks has been harshly criticized for views and labeled "radical," but what champion isn't?
Courtesy: Womensplace.osu.edu
bell hooks was born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in September of 1952. Part of her pseudonym comes from her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins. Growing up in the segregated South, hooks immersed herself in literature, and then went on to attend Stanford University in 1973. After earning her M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin, hooks started as a professor at the University of Southern California. During this time she penned her first chapbook of poems "And There We Wept" (1978) under the name bell hooks. She mentions that she uses "hooks" to memorialize the braveness and wit of her grandmother. bell hooks is lowercase "to emphasize the importance of the substance of her writing as opposed to who she is." hooks also has a Ph.D from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

If you have been so fortunate, you may have sat in her classroom. In addition to contributing critical pieces to the American discourse on issues in education and culture critique, hooks has taught at various universities- including Yale, Oberlin College, and the City College of New York. Currently she is the Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College in Kentucky. Personally, anyone who made it on the top 10 list of "Dangerous Professors in America," is number one on mine! We salute you bell hooks, your voice has given courage to many. 

-Erin Parks


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