hi my name is tanya edmond i am a professor and the associate dean for social work at the brown school in honor of black history month i have the distinct pleasure of highlighting some of the major contributions of one of the most significant contributors of black feminism bell hooks born gloria jean watkins in hopkinsville kentucky in 1952 she adopted the pseudonym bell hooks in honor of her great grandmother belle blair hooks who was quote known for her snappy and bold tongue unquote an activist scholar with english literature degrees from stanford wisconsin and uc santa cruz bell hooks is internationally renowned as a cultural critic and feminist theorist who has made major intellectual contributions to the feminist movement and intellectual feminism by centering the the perspectives and experiences of black women she has been a faculty member at several prestigious universities including the university of southern california yale university and oberlin college and has spent the latter part of her career as a distinguished professor in residence at brya college in her home state of kentucky where she founded the bell hooks institute in 2018 she was inducted into the kentucky writers hall of fame bell hooks began writing her first book when she was 19 years old frustrated by the absence of attention to race gender in class in her undergraduate courses at stanford the book published in 1981 was entitled ain’t i a woman black women in feminism and was inspired by the famous sojourner truth speech delivered in 1851 it was described by publishers weekly as one of the most influential women’s books in two decades it remains a highly regarded seminal contribution to feminist thought 40 years after it was published bell hooks was characterized as a radical feminist for centering the experiences of black women advocating for simultaneously examining gender race and class and for explicitly naming imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy as the four systems of oppression that need to be dismantled a prolific writer of nearly 40 books including five for children bell hooks calls herself a visionary feminist one with a quote wise and loving politic unquote in her work while she is unflinching in her critical analysis of the profound harm caused by systems of oppression she also speaks of compassion the outrageous pursuit of hope and the powerful necessity of love in order to achieve liberation bell hooks has been described as one of our nation’s leading public intellectuals and is one of the hundred visionaries who could change your life in a recent feminist blog dr helena liu noted that quote by following in hook’s steadfast intellectual integrity and emotional honesty we may cultivate a visionary feminist practice that names the violence inflicted by the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and find redemption healing and love unquote in my mind that is a vision worthy of pursuit you