They are ABC flashcards with people and things related to Black history and culture.

"Yams were actually brought over from the continent of Africa," said Creator and Drama teacher Leilani Brooks, while holding up a flashcard with the letter "Y."

She said she got the idea around the time of the Trayvon Martin verdict. She was worried about the negative and fearful images her children were seeing in their own culture.

What You Need To Know

  • A local drama teacher created ABC Me Flashcards

  • The cards showcase people and things related to Black history and culture

  • She got the idea after realizing her children weren't seeing themselves reflected in a positive way

  • They cost $20 and are only available online

"I wanted my son to grow up in a space where he wasn’t seen that way," Brooks said.

One day while she was at the store the idea dawned on her.

"I got a deck of presidential flashcards. I saw Barack Obama was the final card and felt such pride in seeing that amazing accomplishment and being able to share that with my son," she said. 

After scouring the internet, she realized there was a need for her concept, but she also wanted her flash cards to be more than just a teaching tool.

"I wanted them to be little miniature pieces of art because one thing I was very clear on, I didn’t want people to just flip through them and then put them on the shelf," Brooks said.

So with help from her friend and historian Stevi Meredith, who wrote the text for the back of the cards, the two started a GoFundMe campaign and from there ABC Me Flashcards took off. Since Brooks wanted her children to see themselves in a different light, she even includes their own faces on two of the flash cards.

But you won’t find more common figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. Instead, the cards showcase Black Americans that may not get as much attention.

"Listen, if we’re decorating nurseries with "A" is for apple and "B" is for bear, there’s no reason why we can’t be doing that for a spectrum of people that we are living amongst and the history of this country," Brooks said.

She currently teaches theatre at Sequoyah School in Pasadena and said the cards are made in the U.S. and meant for ages 2-8. Unlike larger books, they are meant to be portable.

"So, if you want to go to the doctor’s office and you’re sitting there with your kids and you’re waiting to be called in, break out the flashcards and say 'Hey let’s talk about some of these really quick.'"

And she’s also seen parents come up with some clever uses or bribes of their own.

"Before [the parent] gives the child the WiFi password, they have to pull a card and tell her what’s on the back," Brooks said.

She admits hearing that inspired her to do something similar with her own children.

"In exchange of getting extra free time on electronics, you need to tell me a little bit about Langston Hughes my friend," Brooks laughed.

She said sales usually jump during Black History Month and when kids head back to school in the fall, but she wants the cards to serve as a reminder about the importance of diversity year round.

"I’m hoping that it makes life more diverse just naturally and not because it’s Black History Month and we’re going to study the black people."