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Photo shoot teaches kids about civil rights leaders

The photo shoot was a dream come true for 11-year-old Terrance Broughton Jr., who got to play the part of his hero. 

"It was almost like I was actually seeing what Muhammed Ali was seeing," Broughton said. "Like there was a whole crowd of people cheering me on." 

Broughton is one of dozens of kids chosen by photographer Tricia Messeroux to learn about cultural and civil rights leaders by portraying them. 

Terrance Broughton Jr. got to play the part of his hero, Muhammad Ali.  Tricia Messeroux

"This is about people who matter," Messeroux said of the project, which is part of her new book, "Engineers of Equality." 

"They didn't know Booker T. Washington. They didn't know Claudette Colvin. They didn't know Soujourner Truth," she said. 

But they do know George Floyd, whose death was a driving force behind the project. 

"This is my opportunity to allow kids to be able to understand and be inspired and not scared," Messeroux said. 

Tricia Messeroux is photographing children portraying civil rights icons.  CBS News

Elle Scott, 11, put her heart into her alter ego, singer and activist Nina Simone, who was one of the most memorable voices of the civil rights movement. 

"I went straight to the books. I researched her," Scott said. "I wanted to make sure I got it right."

Scott said the photo shoot has helped with her self-confidence. "Now that I've been in this project, I love my skin tone," she said. "I love the way I act. I love the way I look." 

Jonathan Ridore, 13, recreated an iconic image of John Lewis. 

"Meeting Jonathan Ridore on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, it hit me right here. He knew everything about 'good trouble,'" Messeroux said. 

Ridore added: "We're fighting for something more than civil rights and voting rights. We're fighting not to be killed all the time." 

The kids made it clear: They're capturing the image — but also the spirit — of their role models. 

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