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Meet Tricia Messeroux, a Trailblazer Using Photography to Teach Black History to the Next Generation

Kaitlin Reilly
·2 min read
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Meet the woman bringing Black history into modern day.

In honor of Black History Month, E! News' Nina Parker spoke with photographer Tricia Messeroux, who is working to illuminate the accomplishments of Black leaders like John Lewis and Harriet Tubman by recreating some of their iconic moments with Black children portraying these heroes in her photos.

Messeroux is the creator of the website Toddlewood, where she recreates famous red carpet moments, movie posters and other notable Hollywood snapshots with children as the subject. However, recently, she shifted gears to focus on a more historic approach to her photography with the Toddlewood Engineers of Equality Project. The move was in response to the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe last summer.

According to her website, Messeroux "felt the responsibility to educate through art and inclusion by way of Toddlewood, her globally celebrated photography brand." She received over 3,000 submissions from parents who wanted their children to be a part of the project, with over 30 chosen to portray icons like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Nina Simone, Ava Duvernay, Kendrick Lamar, and Nelson Mandela.

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A coffee table book of these photos are now available for purchase.

As she explained to Parker, Messeroux felt called to do a photoshoot surrounding Congressman Lewis shortly after his death in July 2020. She phoned the mother of her young model Jonathan Ridore, 13, to ask how she would feel about heading to the Pettus Bridge in Alabama, where Lewis marched alongside Dr. King during the Civil Rights movement. Fortunately, she was as enthusiastic as Messeroux was to recreate that historic moment.

So was Jonathan, who told E! News that the experience taught him a lot about Black history.

As he explained, "Before I thought he was just a civil rights activist, but now I know [Lewis] protested for more than just civil rights. He protested for voting rights, for rights of people in general."

He added that he now knows Lewis' famous line about making "good trouble, necessary trouble."

Check out the video above!