Local residents Aaron and Vallierie Williams participated in the Chicago Metro History Fair, following in the footsteps of their brother, Stephen Thomas, who represented the state of Illinois at National History Day in College Park, Md., two years consecutively.

Aaron and Vallierie are twins and eighth-graders at Oliver Westcott Elementary School in Chicago.

The Chicago Metro History Fair is an inquiry-based program for middle and high school students. Aaron and Vallierie looked beyond the basic facts to delve deeply into important topics, and they developed a project on this year’s theme of “Breaking Barriers in History.”

As a result, they advanced to the state level and received an award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

The topic of the twins’ project was “Pancakes Anyone? Breaking Barriers and Bellies.”

Their argument in the form of a thesis was the following:

“Nancy Green, a national product promoter, was known to the world as ‘Aunt Jemima’ and was the world’s first living trademark. Despite being exploited and not adequately compensated for her work, she broke barriers by attracting more than 50,000 fairgoers and aggressively secured the success of Davis Milling Company at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, making it one of the first in American History.”