D.C. Hat Lady Vanilla Beane Celebrating 100th Birthday This Weekend

September 13, 2019

Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

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One of the District’s most recognizable business owners turned 100 on Friday. 

Vanilla Powell, now known as Vanilla Beane, will celebrate her 100th birthday with Mayor Muriel Bowser this weekend. 

Beane, who was born in North Carolina, moved to the District in 1942. She was a seamstress for the Washington Millinery Supply and continued to make hats once she left the company. 

Beane opened Bene Millinery & Bridal Supplies, working to craft hats and other accessories while catering toward the African-American community. 

Beane’s collection caught the attention of civil rights activist Dorothy Height.

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