Kids pose as civil rights icons for new book

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on February 25, 2021 - Duration: 02:29s

Kids pose as civil rights icons for new book

Photographer Tricia Messeroux puts a new spin on kids playing dress-up by having them pose as civil rights icons for her new book, "Engineers of Equality." Lisa Bernhard produced this report.

Kids pose as civil rights icons for new book

Meet Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ mini-me, as well as Malcolm X’s, and Harriet Tubman’s, too.

Photographer Tricia Messeroux celebrates larger-than-life activists by shrinking them down in size, snapping portraits of kids dressed as civil rights pioneers for her new book, “Engineers of Equality.” "My vision was really to educate kids in a very entertaining and visual arts way about these activists and about these change makers.

So, giving them the opportunity to be part of it, but also making sure that they're informed and they understand who these people are and what they did." The book features side-by-side portraits of real activists alongside children transformed to look like them, as well as bios on each social justice pioneer.

Messeroux insisted the kids show up informed about who they were portraying and to even memorize a notable line or two from their alter-egos.

She photographed Jonathan Ridore at Selma, Alabama’s famed Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the 13-year-old posed as late Congressman John Lewis and delivered big time when it came to reciting what is perhaps Lewis’s most famous line: "Never, ever be afraid to make some noise, get into good trouble, necessary trouble.

To help redeem the souls of America." Nine-year-old Nia Thompson brushed up on Harriet Tubman before posing as the heroic former slave and abolitionist.

"It felt really good.

I mean I get to actually play a hero that basically helped people be free.

And I actually don't know where I'd be without her.

Like if - if she didn't do this I don't know where I'd be." The book features over 30 icons, with pint-sized versions of the late Shirley Chisholm - the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress – and educator Booker T.


Messeroux, who was the only Black girl in her school growing up in Boston, said she’s trying to teach kids what she didn’t learn in class.

"There was never any Black history, like, ever any Black history.

And when they tried to give us a little bit of a tribute in February, it was only

Class="kln">Martin Luther King.

That's the only person that they knew, was Dr. Martin Luther King.

And oh, by the way, he had a dream - and that's about it.” Her book also spotlights more recent pop culture pioneers, with 12-yer-old Makaio Bey taking a knee as NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a tinier version of filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

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Colin Kaepernick

American football quarterback and civil rights activist

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