TikTok dad shares Chicago’s history with younger generation

Black History Month

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, a historian and Chicago South Side native, is hoping to change the way history is taught for a younger generation, one TikTok video at a time.

Also known as 6figga_dilla on TikTok, Thomas has gone viral, sharing more than 200 history lessons receiving more than four million views.

Thomas, a dad of seven, started sharing history lessons after his daughter created a TikTok, and he wanted to monitor her account.

“What she wanted us to do is those father-daughter dances, everybody was going viral when TikTok first started, and I tried a few, and we weren’t gonna go viral that way,” Thomas explained. “So I said, you know what I do know is history, and I was trying to get her to do history posts. And that’s what got us started.”

Thomas said he’s had a love for history his entire life. His father was a Chicago policeman for 32 years, with a few historical details — including being a part of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s bodyguard detail and that of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

“So when people are making history, they talk about history, and that’s where I got my love of history from,” he explained.

While Thomas shares videos on a variety of topics, February is Black History Month, and he said it’s essential to incorporate black history lessons into all of his history, because, “Nowadays, we look at Black History Month as kind of a thing for Black people to look at. When really Black history is American history, it’s inundated in so many awesome things that make America great. So by telling the African American version or portion of the story, I’m really just opening the story up for all of us so that the story can be more accurately told.”

Thomas’s 60-second history lessons have led him to the television screen.

“I’m working with the awesome Thomas Landings, a Chicago Oak Park native and one of the writers from ‘Reno 911.’ We’re working on the pilot for, I say, it’s like a period piece or following a Chicago politician during a particular event in Chicago history, and it’s going really well,” Thomas said.

He’s helping put Chicago on the map again, one video at a time.

“Everything dope about America is either from Chicago or made better by Chicago,” Thomas said.

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