2024 Making History NOW! Black History Month Series

We are excited to bring you the FOURTH year of our “Making History NOW!” spotlights for Black History Month! Each year, we share amazing Black youth excelling in creative, scientific, athletic, entrepreneurial, and advocacy fields. Their stories are always inspiring! 

Tanitoluwa Adewumi

Tanitoluwa Adewumi (also known as Tani!) is a 13-year-old chess player born in Nigeria and now lives in the United States. He has achieved the prestigious title of FIDE Master, the third-highest title a chess player can earn from the International Chess Federation. In March 2019, at eight years old, he won first place in the K-3rd Grade Section of the New York State Scholastic Championships Tournament. Since then, he has become a global sensation and has been interviewed by newspapers, radio, and television stations. Tani's incredible story has inspired many children and has shown that no matter where you come from, you can achieve amazing things from a young age.

Read more about Tani here

Datreese Thomas 

Datreese Thomas is the 23-year-old CEO of The Melanie Dolls, an independently-owned black doll company. She first created Melanie Dolls while attending the University of Houston. Her intention behind creating this company was to encourage young black girls through representation. Datreese aims to create empowering, positive, and uplifting dolls that help young black girls develop self-love, gain courage, and feel beautiful. "I provide a product that helps young black girls individually see themselves better," she says.

Read more about Datreese here


Kobe Harris

Kobe Harris is a student at Loyola University Chicago. He has created an environmentally friendly lip balm called KOBEE'S Lip Balm. Kobe's goal is to encourage people to care about the environment and inspire them to impact it positively. KOBEE'S Lip Balm is made with all-natural ingredients, is cruelty-free, is hand-made, and most importantly, is completely compostable. The KOBEE'S website also provides information about bees and their environmental impact. "One small change can make a difference. Be the change. BEE the difference."

Read more about Kobe here

Dakota White 

Dakota White is known for being one of the fastest kids in the country. At six, she won gold medals in the 100 and 400-meter races of the AAU Gulf Primary/8U Championships. This young athlete from Texas has been training since she was three years old, and by the time she turned six, she was already winning most of her races. Dakota lives by the motto "No Days Off" and has set her sights on the Junior Olympics. She is a great example of the importance of hard work, even at a young age.

Read more about Dakota here

Heman Bekele

14-year old Hemaan Bekele has created a soap that helps to treat skin cancer! He won the prestigious award "America's Top Young Scientist" from 3M and Discovery Education, which is considered one of the country's top middle school science competitions. As an award winner, Heman received a cash prize of $25,000. He hopes to refine his innovation and establish a non-profit organization within five years to distribute the soap to needy communities. Heman believes that young minds can have a positive impact on the world.

Read more about Heman here

Gabriel Carothers

Gabriel Carothers made history when he became the youngest pilot in New Mexico and the youngest African American to earn his wings. Carothers passed his private pilot check ride just ten days after his 17th birthday. He built his first flight simulator when he was only 14 years old. Gabriel was inspired to fly by a family friend from a young age. He says, “Leaving a path for other kids to follow lightens up my heart and to make sure they have a future no matter what they do.” Gabriel's story teaches us not to limit the possibilities of what our future can hold!

Read more about Gabriel here

Halie Thomas

Halie Thomas is a 22-year-old international speaker, wellness and compassion activist, content creator, writer, and co-founder of the wellness teahouse Matcha Thomas. She also founded the non-profit organization HAPPY (Healthy, Active, Positive, Purposeful, Youth), which she established in 2013. Her non-profit aims to provide free holistic wellness education and plant-based nutrition to at-risk communities, inspired by her father's positive response to food nutrition after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Halie has already impacted over 90,000 youths through her speaking engagements and HAPPY initiatives, and she continues to share her knowledge with those who need it worldwide.

Learn more about Halie here

Local Young Entrepreneurs Academy Students

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy at MVCC has been transforming middle and high school students into business owners since 2016. They hold class here at ICAN’s Family Resource Center each Wednesday night and throughout the school year, create a business, write a business plan and then pitch their businesses to real investors for real start up money!

We’re so excited to introduce you to some of this year’s students for our final “Making History NOW!” spotlight! The majority of them have also worked with the Children’s Museum in different capacities over the past year. 

Top row:

Kyla Wallace
Designed by Ky
T-shirts featuring rap/hip hop/music lyrics
Kyla and her sisters were a big help when they volunteered for our Global Day of Play event this past September!

Jada Dawson
Sunset Journals
Handmade, custom journals to help young people with expressing creativity and managing their mental health
Jada’s dad Javian is one of our favorite photographers for the Museum!

Kimora Jones
Kimora Jones Events
Total event planning and event support specialists
Kimora shadowed and assisted our events, marketing and development teams for our 100 Plates. One Table event this past December right here at the Museum!

Bottom row:

Ben Jeanbaptiste
Jabon Soap Company
Soap for young men who want to feel clean, confident and classy
Ben was also one of the area art students who helped us create the Museum’s new brand identity!
Learn more here

Trina Connor
Life is Lit Candle Company
Handpoured candles for those who are lovin’ life and livin’ the dream
She has short marketing survey out right now about her candles - if you have a few minutes, please check it out! 

Arianna Burgess
Ari’s Hair Bar
Offering various types of hair styling for young ladies