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Bell hooks: A Black American voice that reached the world by Sisonke Msimang

The tributes that poured in for bell hooks, who died this week aged 69, affirmed the singular place she occupies in the Black intellectual canon.

She was the author of dozens of books and hundreds of journal articles and popular reviews on patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy. Born in 1952, hooks was slightly younger than Toni Morrison, Angela Davis and Alice Walker, but she walked a similar path.

MLK essay: Proud to have defined my ‘blackness’ by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

I don't know how to be black, at least not the way society wants me to be. The way society defines black is like a new pair of heels pinching my toes, making it hard for me to walk. Initially, I felt like I had to learn how to be black; what it permits, what it denies, its formulas and boundaries. I've now learned that just because I'm an African American doesn't mean I have to act or look a certain way.

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