BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gloria Jean Watkins, better known as bell hooks, died in her Berea home after an extended illness.
"Berea College is deeply saddened about the death of bell hooks, Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, prodigious author, public intellectual and one of the country’s foremost feminist scholars."
Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, Ky. on September 25, 1952. She adopted her pen name "bell hooks" from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Hair Hooks.
In 2004, Watkins began the work helping Berea College fulfill its Great Commitments, "particularly the Fifth Great Commitment focused on the kinship of all people and interracial education; the Sixth Great Commitment dedicated to gender equality; and the Eighth Great Commitment centered on service to Appalachia."
In 2017, she dedicated her papers to Berea College, and in 2018, she was inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.
"Berea College is grateful for her contributions to the campus community and will celebrate her life and legacy through the bell hooks center that opened on campus in fall 2021. The bell hooks Institute at Berea College will continue to be a valuable and informative beacon to her life’s work, continuing to remind humans that life is all about love."