Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins) | Profile, Achievements & Facts 


Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins) | Profile, Achievements & Facts 

Bell Hooks, whose real name is Gloria Jean Watkins, was a renowned American author, feminist, and social activist. Her pen name, “bell hooks,” is written in lowercase letters to emphasize the importance of ideas over the individual. Throughout her prolific career, Hooks had been a prominent voice in advocating for social justice, gender equality, and racial issues.

Bell Hooks was born on September 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, a small town in Kentucky, USA. She grew up in a working-class African American family, which greatly influenced her perspectives on race, class, and gender dynamics in society.

Bell Hooks Biography Summary

Full NameGloria Jean Watkins (pen name: bell hooks)
Date of BirthSeptember 25, 1952
AgeDied at 69 years (in 2021)
OccupationAuthor, Feminist, Social Activist
Net WorthNot publicly disclosed
EducationPh.D. in English Literature
ParentsVeodis Watkins (father), Rosa Bell Watkins (mother)
Marital StatusUnmarried (Single)

Family and Siblings

Bell Hooks was the daughter of Veodis Watkins and Rosa Bell Watkins. She experienced a close-knit family environment during her upbringing, which laid the foundation for her compassionate outlook on the world.


Hooks pursued her higher education with great determination and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University. She later obtained her Master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Continuing her academic journey, she earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her scholarly background provided her with critical tools to address complex social issues in her later work.

Career and Achievements

Gloria Jean Watkins’ career as an author and activist began to gain momentum with the publication of her first major work, “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism” in 1981. This groundbreaking book explored the intersectionality of race, gender, and class, shedding light on the unique struggles faced by black women in feminist movements.

Over the years, Hooks authored numerous influential books and essays, including “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center,” “All About Love: New Visions,” and “The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love.” Her writings have been celebrated for their insightful critiques of patriarchy, capitalism, and racism, along with their emphasis on the importance of love, compassion, and empathy in promoting social change.

Throughout her career, Hooks has held teaching positions at various universities, including Yale University, Oberlin College, and the City College of New York. Her work as an educator has inspired countless students to engage critically with issues of social justice and activism.


  • The pen name “bell hooks” was adopted by Gloria Jean Watkins as a tribute to her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Hooks.
  • Hooks has received numerous awards and accolades for her contributions to literature and activism, including the American Book Award for “Ain’t I a Woman?” and the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Gloria Award.”
  • She is known for her accessible writing style, making complex theories and ideas more understandable to a wider audience.
  • Bell Hooks’ work continues to be widely studied and influential in academic circles, as well as in popular discourse on feminism and social justice.