By Jennifer Lindsey

There is a reason that the colorful hats that you see jauntily perched atop the heads of many African American women during Sunday church service are commonly referred to as “crowns.” To the African American community, hats and hairstyles are beautiful and culturally significant. While the art of hair braiding predates the arrival of African slaves onto American shores, the freedom to create economic opportunity for oneself is as American as apple pie.

For many decades, skilled hair braiders were limited to working from their front porch or on the floor of their living room. In 1999…

BJC- Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

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