Racist plantation owners often shaved Black women’s heads as a way to strip them of their individuality and show dominance over them during enslavement. That hatred would spark a later revolution - with church hats! Here’s how.
#1 - A Celebration Of Independence
Church hats were a celebration of triumph over white terrorism and enslavement. Hat designs often were based on West African head dressings and braids, and they celebrate the locs once chopped off by racists.
#2 - Biblical Reverence
The church was often a safe place for our people from racism. Church-going women honor the Bible, which admonishes women to cover their heads as an act of modesty. Though women obeyed and showed reverence to God, they still wanted to catch his eye so their prayers would be heard. Hats were a silent prayer they hoped would reach heaven and God.
#3 - A Symbol of Success
As time passed, church hats evolved to a status symbol of economic success. Middle-class Black women wore colorful and elaborate hats with uncommon designs to indicate their economic success.
When racism reared its ugly head to demean Black women, they refused to stick their heads in the sand and be defeated! We must remember that wearing church hats is not just fashion, it’s a way to appreciate our beauty and reclaim our culture, even in the face of hatred.