We lost our bell. Gloria Jean Watson, known to us as bell hooks (reverence to her Great Grandmother), transitioned at the age of 69 today.
“If I were really asked to define myself, I wouldn’t start with race; I wouldn’t start with blackness; I wouldn’t start with gender; I wouldn’t start with feminism, I would start with stripping down to what fundamentally informs my life, which is that I’m a seeker on the path. I think of feminism, and I think of anti-racist struggles as part of it. But where I stand spiritually is, steadfastly, on a path about love.”bell hooks ~ AGENT OF CHANGE, TRICYCLE MAGAZINE 1992
Ain’t I A Woman** (1981) explores the impacts of slavery on black women. bell argued the intersections of racism and sexism contributed to black women having the lowest status of any group in American society.
bell was a 19 year old undergraduate student at Stanford University, when she wrote her first draft of Ain’t I A Woman, titled after Sojourner Truth’s 1851 query and declaration on African American women’s rights.
I’ve wondered how bell understood at such a young age what had been and would be the plight of American Black women descended from enslaved Africans.
So much about me has changed since I first picked up Ain’t I A Woman in my late 20s; I am a different woman today, with an expanded and deepened lens of the joys and suffering connected to our (Black women) lived experience. Feels like the right—hell, PERFECT—time to revisit bell’s wisdom, as well as to share it with my teen daughter on the cusp of Black Womanhood.
- bell hooks dies – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review 2021
- Waking up to Racism – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review 1994
- Agent of Change: An Interview with bell hooks on Buddhism – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review 1992
bell hooks. Black. Woman. Appalachian. Buddhist. Feminist. Social Critic. Sage. Equity Champion. Ancestor. Your words and insight will forever light our path.
Rest easy Sister . . .
Ain’t I A Woman ~ Sojourner Truth 1851 Women’s Convention Akron, Ohio