The start of the February marks Black History Month and every year, one parent honors it celebrating incredible black women who changed the course of history. In 2017, Seattle-based mom, Cristi Smith-Jones, started a photo series featuring her then 5-year-old daughter, Lola. Every day of February, Smith-Jones helps Lola dress up as different famous black woman through history, and she’s kept the theme going for several years.
In 2017, on Martin Luther King Day in January, Smith-Jones got the idea. She told CNN that her daughter came home from school that day and shared the lessons she learned about the civil rights leader. Smith-Jones and her partner saw this interest as an opportunity to dig deeper into history.
“She seemed to understand where we were coming from,” Cristi Smith-Jones said to CNN. “Since it’s a heavy topic, we wanted to find a way to make learning about black history fun for her,” and the idea to dress up a new historical figure every day for the month was born.
The family has kept the monthly tradition going for over 2 years now, and Lola has learned about so many amazing black women along the way. She’s dressed up as Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space:
— Cristi Smith-Jones *Order 'That They Lived'!* (@MsKittiFatale) February 7, 2017
She’s been Hazel Scott, the first black person to have their own TV show in the United States:
Day 22 of #blackhistorymonth is dedicated to jazz singer, actress, and classical pianist #HazelScott, who was the first black person to have their own TV show in the U.S. You can see her amazing talent on display here as she plays 2 pianos at once:https://t.co/rvSgxHyrh2 pic.twitter.com/cZiUdII16F
— Cristi Smith-Jones *Order 'That They Lived'!* (@MsKittiFatale) February 23, 2019
Lola has learned about the history of civil rights activist Harriet Tubman:
— Cristi Smith-Jones *Order 'That They Lived'!* (@MsKittiFatale) February 15, 2017
She has channeled Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to run for president of the United States.
— Cristi Smith-Jones *Order 'That They Lived'!* (@MsKittiFatale) February 9, 2017
Smith-Jones shows the photos of each historical woman to Lola, who then chooses whom she wants to recreate. Together they look for the items to put together the outfit and mom shoots and edits them right on her phone.
Day 2.Today we are paying tribute to the Queen of the Blues- Mamie Smith. She was the first Black artist to make a…
This year, Lola has recreated the look of the “Queen of the Blues” Mamie Smith and Janet Jackson, too.
We've been told numerous times that Lola resembles her younger self, so we've decided to pay tribute to the cultural icon and multitalented Queen of Pop, whose career spans decades, #JanetJacksonhttps://t.co/OCEPU34qNLhttps://t.co/2G2B3cVCGw pic.twitter.com/L16AL02541
— Cristi Smith-Jones *Order 'That They Lived'!* (@MsKittiFatale) February 1, 2020
This is a fantastic example of using your child’s interest to springboard it into something bigger, with a great lesson for everyone, and having something fun to do together, too. This month is just beginning so it will be fun to see what the two come up with this year.