JANUARY 31 - MARCH 30, 2022

A Berea College Special Collections and Archives exhibition co-sponsored by Hutchins Library and the bell hooks center

Lest We Forget


It is an understatement to say that Berea College has been blessed in many ways by bell hooks. Several specific examples come to mind as I write this introduction. First, Dr. hooks brought her message about love, domination, and spirituality to Berea College as a convocation speaker in 1999. Then in 2004 she chose to join the campus community as Distinguished Professor in Residence of Appalachian Studies. Seventeen years of inspiring leadership followed her relocation to Berea. One of those acts of leadership with long-term implications was choosing to entrust Berea College Special Collections and Archives with the stewardship of her archival legacy.

Archival repositories collect documentary evidence of the past so that the people, ideas, and movements that have shaped our world may be studied today and in the future. When utilized, archives serve as an antidote to institutional and cultural amnesia. Through her archive Dr. hooks will continue to influence new generations even though she is no longer with us in person.

This exhibition explores the archival legacy of bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watson, 1952-2021) by presenting thirty-six items from the bell hooks papers. The selected documents, publications, photographs, and recordings give witness to a life of struggle, success, and lasting significance. 


Timothy S. Binkley, C.A.

Head of Special Collections and Archives

January 27, 2022

The items displayed in this exhibit represent each of the series (topical groupings) of materials in the bell hooks papers. The listing that follows is also grouped by series rather than numerically or chronologically. As you view the items in each case, we invite you to look up the corresponding number on the list to reveal its context within the archival collection. To learn about the bell hooks papers as a whole, please follow this link to the Archival Finding Aid.


 From Series 1: Correspondence

5. Letter from Jessica Davis, 2012 October 29.

6. Letter from June Jordan, with photograph, 1995 January 28. 

7. Thank you note from Carrie L. Brunk on hand-made paper, 2008 January.

8. Letter from Alice Walker, 1995 August 5.

10. Card from Hazel, with photograph, undated.


From Series 2: Writings and Publishing

1. Booklet: and there we wept, poems by bell hooks, 1978.

2. Book: Feminismoa Denon Kontua Da Politika Pasio (Feminism is for Everybody), 2018.

3. Book: Não Serei eu Muhler?(Ain't I a Woman?), 2018.  

4. Book: Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom (Korean translation), 2019.

9. Routledge publishing agreement for “Outlaw Culture,” 1992.


From Series 3: Research and Teaching files

16. CalArts workshop booklet., undated.

17. Carnegie Center catalog, 2018.

18. Festa per bell hooks publicity card, Bologna, Italy, 1999 June 8.  

20. Feminism: Theory and Liberatory Practice poster, Utrecht, 1992.

34. Building Beloved Community events poster, Berea College, 2005.


From Series 4: Photographs, Recordings, and Electronic Data

19. Photograph: bell hooks at The New School, 2014. 

26. Videotape: bell hooks at the Petry Center, San Francisco State University, 2000 October 18.

27. Audio CD: Teaching to Transgress read by Robin Miles, 2017.

28. Photograph: Arthur Jafa and bell hooks in conversation. The New School, 2014.

29. Photograph: Gloria Steinem and bell hooks embracing. The New School, 2014.

30. Photograph: Laverne Cox and bell hooks in conversation. The New School, 2014.

31. Videotape of bell hooks speaking at Spelman College, 2004 January 29.

32. Audio CD: feminism if for everybody / passionate politics read by Robin Miles, 2000.

36. Photograph: bell hooks portrait, undated.


From Series 5: Personal Materials

11. Happy to be Nappy and other stories of me HBO Premier publicity card, 2004.

12. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood book release celebration invitation, 1996.

13. Poem “mind moves” bookmark, 2003.

14. Salvation: Black People and Love promotional card, 2001.

15. Black Issues in Higher Education, Vol. 10, No. 5, 1993 May 6.

21. Finding Our Place Black Women’s Conference announcement card, 2014.

22. Courier-Journal article “Her Own Woman” 1989 March 9 (framed)

23. Shambhala Sun, 2006 July.

24. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Vol. 35, No. 20, 2018 November 1.

25. Ms., Vol. 4, No. 2, 1993.

33. Invitation to bell’s fiftieth birthday party, 2002.

35. Year of bell hooks flier, St. Norbert College, 2014.



 “If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice”

-bell hooks


bell hook papers, Berea College Special Collections and Archives

Photography by Caleb A. Rigel, 2022.