Etta J. King, Retiree
That bag is incredible. What is in it?
This is a Bible bag, you put your Bible in it and carry it. I got it on 124th Street at a Bible store.
What’s the name of your church?
Convent Avenue Baptist Church on 145th. I live on 156th Street, and walk there and back, especially on good days.
Have you lived in Harlem for a while?
Oh Lord, yes. I came here in 1976. My children are all grown and have their own families.
Do you have a big family?
I have 26 great-grandchildren.
Well, I’m 66!
Francis Chambliss, Nurse
This is my regular churchwear. I wear a different hat every week. I have about 100.
One hundred! Where do you put them all?
I put them in my hatboxes. I’ve been collecting them for over fifteen years. All the other ladies at church are always asking me, where do I buy my hats? It makes me proud. I buy them wherever I go—downtown, Broadway, the Bronx.
Is this your favorite?
No, not really. But everyone says it looks beautiful on me, so I looked in the mirror and thought, Oh, maybe it does.
What’s the best thing about your church?
I like the music, the singers, the pastors, the people. I have a lot of friends here.
But you have the best hats.
Yes, I do. I guess I win the prize.
Interviews by Emma Rosenblum