These Hats Were Sacred To Women Across The Country

black woman sitting in a chair with a red hat on
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
April 19, 2024

It’s a special day for women across the world. They have to look their best because they don’t want to disappoint. Dressed from head to toe in some of the finest clothing, the cherry on top was a crown. And these crowns weren’t just for fashion, they were to respect their spirituality during worship.

Church hats, or crowns, became a popular staple during chattel enslavement when Black women would go to church on Sundays. Dealing with getting their heads shaved by white plantation owners, Black women back then needed a practical way to fight back. Crowns not only protected their heads, but also covered their heads as a sign of respect and worship for religious practices.

Church hats were mainly reserved for attending church, but during the Civil Rights movement, an exception was made as activists wanted protestors dressed in their “Sunday’s best” outfit.

“Church ladies have always been couture, avant-garde and out of the box. We don’t follow fashion trends - we set the trends and so a lot of your first ladies also set the tone for their churches.” And as we stepped out of the box of typical fashion, we stepped into a new era of culture and spirituality.

Church crowns represent sacredness and resistance, a legacy that lives on today. What would a crown built for liberation look like on your head?