Raising a child in America brings unique trials for each family. The undoubtable fact is, children of color often times experience a very different America than their white friends and classmates. Taylor Trotter, a mom from Michigan, recognized this difference and the importance of educating and preparing her daughter for what she might face in the world, rather than shielding her from it. As a white mom to a biracial child, Trotter knew she shouldn’t be the only one to educate her on Black history and what it means to be Black in America. So, she turned to Black historical figures for some help.
Every year for the past three years, during Black History Month, Trotter dresses her daughter, Paisley, as a Black historical figure. Paisley does her absolute best to copy the pose from a photo exactly, and her mother shares the side-by-side image on her Facebook page. Trotter takes care to research the figure thoroughly, sharing the accomplishments and struggles with her daughter, as well as in a caption on the photo. Throughout the month of February, they recreate one image every single day.
Over the years, Paisley has dressed up as many of the great Black writers, activists, and more – from Barack and Michelle Obama, to Oprah, to Harriet Tubman, Paisley has been able to emulate Black excellence as it appears in all aspects of life.
Trotter was inspired to start this project with her daughter because of what she was taught in a child psychology class. She learned that many biracial children with multicultural backgrounds struggle with their identity and feeling connected to either group of people. “I knew I had to make a conscientious effort to teach her about the Black side of her and the Black history,” Trotter explained. “And I want this to help her become confident in loving who she is.”
This year, Trotter wanted to pay tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by replicating the photos of 10 Black people who lost their lives to police brutality, as well as the three women who founded the movement. “I’m just trying to bring awareness that this is a systemic problem and people are passing this hatred in their hearts down from generation to generation,” she said. Trotter uses her platform to spread this awareness to her followers, but also must grapple with having to discuss such sad and horrific events with her young daughter. “Racism doesn’t have an age, so kids are never too young to learn about it,” she continued. “I don’t want to send her into the world blindsided to the fact that people may treat her differently just because of the way she looks.”
At the end of each year, Trotter compiles the photos and captions into a book that she and Paisley can look back on for inspiration and fond memories of creating the photos together. “This teaches her that just because people are different doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy,” she explained. By continuing to do this, Trotter hopes to encourage others to educate themselves on the influential Black Americans that are a part of our history, and instill confidence and strength in her daughter. You can view their daily Black History Month photos on their Facebook page.