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Feature News: This 22-Year-Old Illustrator Is Honoring Historic Black Figures With Playing Cards

Posted by Abeiku Ebo on

Feature News: This 22-Year-Old Illustrator Is Honoring Historic Black Figures With Playing Cards

Notable Black individuals throughout history are all stacked together on a card deck created by Keara Johnson when she was a senior at the University of Missouri. The Revolution Card Deck, otherwise known as The Black History Month-themed card deck, is meant to educate people and start conversations surrounding these Black figures and Black Culture in general.

Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr and Thurgood Marshall are just a few of the figures on the cards designed by the 22-year-old illustrator from Kansas City, Missouri.

Each figure has been nicknamed by Johnson who came up with this concept during a class project. That was what it was supposed to be — a class project. She was not interested in seeing the project out there initially despite the accolades thrown her way by her classmates when they first saw the cards and the idea behind them.

“That, literally, was where it was going to stay and I wasn’t going to push the product anymore,” Johnson said.

The graphic designer and founder of Lo Studios realized this concept was new but through the class project, she was able to bring her idea to fruition dedicating it to all dreamers and those who have paved the way for African Americans in the country today.

“It’s dedicated to the dreamers — to all of the African American individuals before us who paved the way,” Johnson told CNN.

Johnson moved from wanting to leave the project on her portfolio to going out and printing out 100 decks when she received her first order last October from one of the professors at her University who wanted to give them out as thoughtful gifts for her graduate students.


That was all the confidence boost Johnson needed to pursue a dream of educating the masses on Black culture and empowering people with the stories of these figures. She shifted her focus now and has been looking for innovative ways to market the Revolution Card Deck. The response from people has been overwhelming.

“I’ve just been showing them to people who I think would be interested and just seeing how many eyes I can get on them,” Johnson explained. “And literally every person that I’ve shown has been excited about it — more excited than me sometimes.”

A local company that prides itself in selling designs from its locals, Made in KC, recently pushed Johnson to print more cards so they carry some in their shop for her. The young illustrator went ahead to print 500 more decks and now she supplies her wares to all three Made in KC stores.

“Creativity is a direct tool to get conversation started and that’s why I wanted to play a part in this. I knew it was just so powerful and so dope overall. I knew I wanted it to get as far as it can, so this is super rewarding to me because I’m in a place like this,” Johnson said.

All these conversations, according to Johnson, are really ‘one for the culture’ and nothing else. It is about pushing Black culture forward and what better way than over a card game. It is one of the best conversation starters and she hopes important conversations about Black History and Black Culture would be had over these games.

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