TULSA, Okla. — February is Black History Month, a month designed to celebrate the achievements of African Americans throughout history. A Tulsa mother and son pair spent the pandemic recording Black history for the next generation.
"What prompted us to start is that when we were home, there were hardly any children's books that had any African American or anybody who looked like my son, Keith, or his friends. So, we were talking and were like what should we do about it, and Keith was like, we should probably start writing books ourselves," says Dr. Tamecca Rogers.
The result was seven children's books highlighting black history. The pair penned and published the books themselves.
"All the books have messages; you know it's basically the best you can be as yourself, and love other people for who they are," says Dr. Rogers.
The story behind these stories started in the upstairs office in a nook carved out for virtual school. Here, they wrote books like "Momma May I Be Me?" inspired by Keith's desire for dreadlocks.
"Does My Life Matter?" Explaining the Black Lives Matters movement.
There's also "A Promise Deferred," delving into the Tulsa Race Massacre.
"This is a realistic book that happened way, way, way back," says son, Keith Ross.
"It includes the bombs, the fires, all that we hear about all that. But we don't hear about all the businesses there and how they were successful businesses. We don't hear about that. So that book takes us to most of the businesses that were there. In the book and we talk about their addresses, the whole 9 yards. And it tells kids how they can be entrepreneurs as well," adds Dr. Rogers.
"A Promise Deferred" comes with a teaching curriculum to inspire critical thinking. Conversations are encouraged through an interactive journal the pair wrote called "Now You're It." It spotlights famous African Americans through fun facts, quotes, and activities. Keith's favorite section is on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I like that he marched for our rights," says Keith.
The family sells the books on Amazon and their website.
While sharing history has become their passion, they say this time spent creating meaningful mother-son memories is the best part.
"When Keith said, you know we should write books, everybody should learn about this, that made it even better that I got to share it with him," says Dr. Rogers.
The pair is currently working on their next book. If you'd like to learn more, click here.