Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats
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Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats

4.8 12
by Michael Cunningham, Craig Marberry
     
 

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Countless black women would rather attend church naked than hatless. For these women, a church hat, flamboyant as it may be, is no mere fashion accessory;  it's a cherished African American custom, one observed with boundless passion by black women of various religious denominations. A woman's hat speaks long before its wearer utters a word.  It

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Overview

Countless black women would rather attend church naked than hatless. For these women, a church hat, flamboyant as it may be, is no mere fashion accessory;  it's a cherished African American custom, one observed with boundless passion by black women of various religious denominations. A woman's hat speaks long before its wearer utters a word.  It's what Deirdre Guion calls "hattitude...there's a little more strut in your carriage when you wear a nice hat. There's something special about you." If a hat says a lot about a person, it says even more about a people-the customs they observe, the symbols they prize, and the fashions they fancy.

Photographer Michael Cunningham beautifully captures the self-expressions of women of all ages-from young glamorous women to serene but stylish grandmothers. Award-winning journalist Craig Marberry provides an intimate look at the women and their lives. Together they've captured a captivating custom, this wearing of church hats, a peculiar convergence of faith and fashion that keeps the Sabbath both holy and glamorous.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
African American Women and Their Church Hats:

"Our crowns have already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear them."
-James Baldwin

"We just know inside that we're queens. And these are the crowns we wear."
-Felecia McMillan, journalist

"Listen, never touch my hat! Admire it from a distance. Those are the hat queen rules, honey."
-Peggy Knox, child care provider

"You can flirt with a fan in your hand. You can flirt holding a cigarette, too. But a woman can really flirt with a hat."
-Dolores Foster, real estate agent (retired)

"My husband said, 'You don't need another hat. You don't have but one head.'"
-Dorothy Wynecroff, middle school teacher (retired)

Deirdre Donahue
For writer Craig Marberry, "there's a lot of history under those hats." He and photographer Michael Cunningham have documented a fascinating African American tradition in the book Crowns: A Portrait of Black Women in Church Hats.

Featuring an introduction by Maya Angelou, Crowns presents 50 photos of black women arrayed in the hats they wear on Sunday. Each woman has a story. Some are funny. Some are heartbreaking. Some deal with department stores where black women couldn't try on hats. All of them illuminate an aspect of black life. Marberry says Crowns is "everything that is strong and loving and beautiful about black women.
USA Today

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385500869
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
239,112
Product dimensions:
7.81(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.02(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cunningham is a commercial photographer whose clients include Coca-Cola and Sara Lee. Two of his photographs are currently on loan to the Smithsonian's Anacostia Museum, and his works have been featured in the New York Times and Ebony. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Craig Marberry, a former TV reporter, holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and is the owner of a video production company. He has written articles for the Washington Post and Essence magazine. Marberry is also the grandson of the late Louis Henry Ford, former Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
November 6, 1952
Place of Birth:
Cincinnati, Ohio
Education:
B.A., Stanford University, 1975; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1980
Website:
http://www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com

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