That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed The World
In February 2017, Rochelle came across a series of black-and-white photos on social media of four-year-old Lola Smith-Jones dressed as different African American women who had made history. Rochelle was immediately smitten. She was so proud to see this little girl so powerfully honor the struggle and achievement of women several decades her senior. Rochelle later reached out to Lola’s mom, Cristi Smith-Jones, and asked to pair her writing with Smith-Jones’s incredible photographs for a book. That book became “That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed The World.” It features Riley’s grandson, Caleb, and Lola photographed in timeless black and white, dressed as important individuals such as business owners, educators, civil rights leaders, and artists, alongside detailed biographies that begin with the figures as young children who had the same ambitions, fears, strengths, and obstacles facing them that readers today may still experience. The duo hopes this book will teach children on the cusp of puberty that they can be anything they aspire to be, that every famous person was once a child who, in some cases, overcame great obstacles to achieve.