February is Black History Month, a chance to learn and celebrate extraordinary people, events, and achievements of African heritage. This is especially important when most of the history we learn in schools tends to be centered around Europe and the United States.
And one 5-year-old has found a pretty creative way to celebrate the month. Lola and her mother, Cristi Smith-Jones, take to social media every February to dress up as famous black women from history. Back in 2017, the pair posted a photo every single day.
Smith-Jones explained to CNN that her daughter's love of history began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when Lola learned about Martin Luther King Kr. at school. Her parents figured it would be a good time to talk to her about slavery and the civil rights movement.
"She seemed to understand where we were coming from," Smith-Jones said.
The family decided that to tackle such a heavy topic, they'd make it fun by taking advantage of Lola's love for dress-up.
"Since it's a heavy topic, we wanted to find a way to make learning about black history fun for her," Cristi Smith-Jones said.
Smith-Jones picked out some influential black women from history and taught Lola about them. They then showed Lola pictures of the women, and she picked out who she wanted to dress up as.
The family rummaged through their cupboards to recreate an iconic woman for each day of Black History Month.
Smith-Jones said that Lola, who is "by nature very quiet and serious in school," has come to identify with the women she has studied. "Her ability to emulate them is uncanny," she added.
Ida B Wells
Mary McLeod Bethune
Dr. Mae Jemison
Smith-Jones said that Dr. Jemison "taught (Lola) that she can be anything she wants and that you can change your mind -- you don't have to be the same thing forever."