Barbies Honors Journalist Ida B. Wells With Special Doll

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Barbie is paying homage to legendary Black journalist Ida B. Wells by launching a doll in her likeness.

Earlier this week, the toy company unveiled the latest addition to their Inspiring Women series. The doll of Wells, who was a journalist, educator, and Civil Rights activist, is outfitted in a dress of her time, an 1800s-style high neck dress with a ruffled collar and her hair back.

“[Barbie] is proud to honor the incredible Ida B. Wells as the newest role model in our Inspiring Women series, dedicated to spotlighting heroes who paved the way for generations of girls to dream big and make a difference,” wrote the brand in an Instagram post revealing the doll. “Born into slavery, Ida grew to become a journalist, activist, and suffragist – bringing light to the stories of injustice that Black people faced in her lifetime, and co-founding several organizations including the NAACP. When kids learn about heroes like Ida B. Wells, they don’t just imagine a better future – they know they have the power to make it come true.”

As mentioned in the caption, Wells was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to fight for freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all and was also co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Some of her other notable work included her extensive documentation of the lynching in the United States in the 1890s. She published articles and issued a pamphlet called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases,” exposing the barbaric practice far and wide. In 2020, she earned a posthumous Pulitzer Prize special citation "[f]or her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.”

The Wells doll, which comes alongside a copy of the newspaper Memphis Free Speech where she was both an editor and co-owner, will be available at major retailers by January 17.

While the company was previously under fire for not having enough representation in their doll collection, Barbie is now taking initiative to celebrate women of color who inspire us. In July last year, the company also released a doll in the likeness of tennis legend Naomi Osaka

Tags: black authors, books by black women, Inspiring Women, women history

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Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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