American Girl Launching Civil Rights-Era Doll Named Melody
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

In celebrating Black History Month and its 30th anniversary, American Girl is introducing a doll that plays homage to the civil rights movement. The doll, called Melody, represents “ordinary Americans” who helped drive the civil rights movement, Mark Speltz, a senior historian who helped developed Melody’s story, told CBS.

[Related: What You’re Missing: Black History Month Events in NYC]

“When we learn about the civil rights movement, we learn about a handful of really important people,” Speltz added. “But the movement was … driven by average, ordinary Americans, like Melody.”

Melody’s character is the company’s third black doll. According to the narrative that comes with all their dolls, she’s a 9-year-old girl in Detroit in the mid-’60s who loves to sing, perform in church, and who is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to spread awareness on racial inequality. 

The company elaborates more on Melody via their website:

“Because February is Black History Month, your daughter may be learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement in school. But even in our own changing times, civil rights issues and the social climate of the 1960s may be difficult for her to fully understand. That is why we are so proud to introduce our compelling new BeForeverâ„¢ character, Melody, whose story reflects the changing face and history of the nation during that important era.

The late civil rights leader Julian Bond was part of the advisory board to create Melody and her story.

Watch more on the launch of the doll and the history behind it below via CBS:


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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.