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Mae Cullins is a pastor at Divine International Pow

Mae Cullins, Divine International Pow Wows, Monroe

Verse 15 from chapter 11 in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reads that a woman must cover her head in order to pray or prophesy. It’s a belief shared by the thirteen women who posed for this project. Many of the women talked about dressing for church as a way of expressing respect for God. But their hats are also an expression of personality.

“We are supposed to dress conservatively but my hats are one of my identities. I am known for my hats,” Dorothy Rayford, who is a mother of the church at Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Monroe, said.

Church hats are also a testament to the women’s history. All of them said they grew up with mothers, aunts and grandmothers who wore hats to church. Some of the women started wearing hats in their teens or early 20s – as soon as they were allowed to. Others started wearing hats to church later on, as faith began to play a bigger role in their lives. The women’s personal histories are set against their cultural history.

Derunzia Atkins, Deaconess of Greater New Hope Baptist

Derunzia Atkins, Greater New Hope Baptist Church, Monroe

Sharon Taylor attends Calvary Baptist Church in West

Sharon Taylor, Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, West Monroe

Geneva Wright is a deaconess at Greater New Hope Baptist

Geneva Wright, Greater New Hope Baptist Church, Monroe

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