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American Girl Has a New Doll – She’s black, From Civil Rights Era

By: Krystle Crossman

American Girl has created dolls for years that little girls fall in love with. They come with clothing, furniture, and a back story. In honor of Black History Month, American Girl has announced the release of a brand new doll. She is African-American and her name is Melody Ellison. Her story dates back to the Civil War era in Detroit. Melody will not be released for sale until this upcoming summer in order to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary.

A historian who has worked with the American Girl company on Melody’s story says that she is modeled after the everyday average citizen. These citizens were the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. Mark Speltz, the historian, stated that we mostly heard about the major figures in the civil rights movement but it was really the everyday people that really pushed the movement forward. He helped the company to develop a story for Melody that would show how important citizens were to the civil rights movement.

Melody grew up in Detroit during the 60s. She was 9 years old and was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. according to the article on the American Girl website. She loves to sing and perform at her church. In order to get a completely accurate story the American Girl company put together a board including historian Mark Speltz and civil rights activist leader Julian Bond. They wanted to show how important one girl could be to a large movement. They also want to be able to inspire young girls who were reading Melody’s story to stand up for what they believe in.

In her story Melody has been chosen to sing a solo at her church and she is excited to tell her parents about it. She draws on inspiration from her brother and Dr. King Jr. in order to pick the perfect song for her solo. Along the way there are a lot of unfortunate incidents and unfair situations that come up for Melody and her family. She is affected by a tragedy in the South. All of this comes together to create a gripping story for American Girl’s third African-American doll that young readers will love and find inspiring.

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