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Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats Holiday Hats Easter and Mother's Day are the two biggest hat days in black churches; many women purchase a new hat just for the occasion. Prices range from around $100 to over $1,000 for a custom-made design. Most women have more than one hat and it's not uncommon for the most devout crown-wearers to own more than 50.
Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats The March on Washington On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 people participated in the March on Washington. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, a startlingly young Bob Dylan sang folk songs, and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson performed a rendition of "How I Got Over" in an elaborate flowered hat.
Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats A Symbol of Success Hats also served as status symbols. "Once you got up on your feet and started working, you bought some hats," said boutique owner Audrey Easter, in Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry's book, Crowns. Many women match their hats with their pocketbooks and gloves.
Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats A Colorful Command Who knew that a Bible commandment could come in so many colors? When the Apostle Paul declared that women must cover their heads during worship (1 Corinthians 11:15), African American women took his decree, attached feathers and bows to it, and turned it into something beautiful.
Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats Praise the Lord Elaborate outfits also served as a way to honor God. Women showed respect and reverence by dressing up for church. In earlier times, slaves might wash their one set of clothes; field workers might decorate a straw hat with a ribbon or flower to look more formal. And a new hat, when she could afford it, made the wearer look and feel completely different.
Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats Crowns In 2002, Regina Taylor's off-Broadway production Crowns — based on Cunningham and Marberry's book by the same name — followed the lives of six Southern African-American women through the hats they wore to church. The play discussed hat etiquette (no hat borrowing), style (you shouldn't look lost in it), and attitude (you have to have one in order to wear a hat well).