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Michigan teen's epic senior photoshoot depicts Civil War history

Posted at 4:22 PM, May 31, 2021

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) -- A Southfield, Michigan, teen had an epic senior photoshoot, capturing the highlight of his high school years and honoring soldiers who sacrificed their life.

Javohn Kennedy, a 17-year-old with a passion for history, explores the experience of an African American soldier in the Civil War and honors those who sacrificed their lives then and now, for our country’s freedoms.

Kennedy is not just interested in reading about history, he was just 15 when he joined the 102nd Colored Troops Company B as a reenactor.

"Around 180,000 African Americans served in the army during the Civil War. They were paid $10 while their white counterparts were only paid $13. And the mortality rate for African Americans was actually about 40% higher," Kennedy said.

Learning those facts had a profound impact on Kennedy and his goals.

Trading in a cap and gown for historical uniforms wasn't the senior photo his mom had in mind. But Kennedy's mom has embraced it.

"When I saw him in the uniform and it really hit me what he, what it represented," his mom said. "I thank Javohn, for bring that history home for his family."

His photos were taken by professional photographer Shawn Lee of Shawn Lee Studios taken at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit.

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