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

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 31st 2000 by Doubleday (first published October 17th 2000)
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Oct 20, 2010 Toocutedobs rated it liked it
I found this in my local public library with a bookplate as a donated book. The cover is quite eye catching but that is only a teaser. The book first shows a photo of the lady and her hat--an important hat to be sure. Then the next two pages are the story the lady chose to tell about her hat. These hat stories always include bits of wisdom and lovely memories of family and friends. This was a joy to read and to view these ladies and those all important hats. I believe any woman reading this book ...more
May 25, 2016 Joey rated it it was amazing
"We just know inside that we're queens. And these are the crowns we wear."

This book was a real pleasure, both the photos and the brief recollections of the women in them. These women can WEAR them hats!

It's a broad group of photo subjects, ranging from 22 to at least 78 in age, professions ranging from teachers, to Urban League presidents, to secretaries, to state representatives. Each has a story about why they wear hats and why they chose that one for the photo shoot. Some are hilarious, othe
Apr 20, 2013 refgoddess rated it it was amazing
I was looking at books with low circulation, and this one jumped out at me. My aunt met her best friend through mutual hat admiration, and, while I'm not a hat wearer, I love them on other people. This book fell open at the perfect quote: "Before we left for the party, my mother said we looked adorable. I said, 'Adorable ain't what we're shooting for.'"

Each black and white portrait is accompanied with an individual story about hats and life experience. This book is fascinating and beautiful and
Jan 26, 2016 SarahC rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. The subject has fascinated me for a long time and this unique book provides a personal insight from African American women on the importance of hats -- an instance where fashion has much much inner meaning in addition to the outside beauty. I think also that hats throughout time, in many cultures, have been an element of women's lives that marked their own choice, personal style, and a true statement when women had few statements to call theirs.
Aug 12, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, black-america
"We just know inside we're queens. And these are the crowns we wear." Felecia McMillan - Journalist

Michael Cunningham's stunning black & white photographs and Craig Marberry's gift and ability to find the voices & stories of the women in the photos combine to give a beautiful view of black American women.
Sep 01, 2010 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Crowns! Portraits of Black Women and their Church Hats; Young and Mature Queens show off their headress in this book. This book showcases beautiful pictures along with short biographies of the hat wearers and also goes briefly into the history behind the significance of hats in the black community.
Sep 07, 2012 Xandie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book, though not necessarily a book in the traditional sense, gives a great insight into the lives of African American women. The many women shown in the photographs are all different and each with their own lesson to teach us. This is a good coffee table book just to flip through.
Jun 13, 2011 CD rated it really liked it
A brilliant visualization of a religious social phenomena. Humorous and serious while being very respectful and insightful.

I may kick this one up to a 5-star rating after I've let it sit and soak in for a few months.
May 18, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it
I borrowed this book for my wife from an African-American Episcopal priest that I work with. I watched her reading it and with occasional laughter but always a smile and decided I need to take a look too! Great book with some great hats, "not the kind you'll find on a skinny old white woman."
Aug 15, 2007 Leslie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: photographers and black history fans
These photos document an era that is passing, that of the elaborate hats that African-American women wear to church. I found the hats to be amazing. The ladies' expressions tell you a lot about themselves as well.
Barb Kissner
Jun 23, 2013 Barb Kissner rated it really liked it
A wonderful book full of lovely photographs and a brief story told by each woman. Unique blend of history, hats, and generations of women who have a strong link to their heritage through their hats.
Aug 27, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: dramaturgy
Read this in preparation of working on the musical Crowns, as this is the source musical. Lovely photos and fun/fascinating stories. Easy read.
Mar 30, 2008 Reuel rated it liked it
Essays with accompanying photographs of Black women and their church hats. Set in the U.S. 1950s mostly.
Linda L. Fenoff
Apr 12, 2012 Linda L. Fenoff rated it it was amazing
I spent hours going over each of the short essays that accompanied the wonderful photos of women in their special and unique hats. I could read it a third time.
Evelyn Bryant
Nov 10, 2011 Evelyn Bryant rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book documenting a beautiful people. A most enjoyable book. The expressions on the faces of the women and the hats they wear....... perfect!
Kathy McFarland
Kathy McFarland rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2016
Sansan Gilbreath
Sansan Gilbreath rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2009
Enigma Monkey
Enigma Monkey rated it really liked it
May 01, 2013
Daisy Smith
Daisy Smith rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2016
Mary Havens
Jun 28, 2013 Mary Havens rated it it was amazing
LOVED IT! Funny, insightful, beautiful and makes me want to go buy a hat. :)
Jeff rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2009
Bahman rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2015
Michael McNally
Michael McNally rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2015
Denise rated it it was ok
Jan 15, 2017
Sheree rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2014
Sia rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2014
Katherine rated it liked it
Feb 16, 2012
Alana rated it liked it
Nov 13, 2011
Bonita Wise
Bonita Wise rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2013
Laura McNeal
Laura McNeal rated it it was amazing
Oct 06, 2016
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