To celebrate their 30th anniversary, American Girl has announced an awesome new addition to their collection of historical dolls. Meet Melody Ellison: A nine-year-old, Motown-loving girl from Detroit, who’s living in the ’60s and loves to sing. She’s also American Girl’s first-ever Civil Rights-era doll and the company’s third African American doll.
To ensure historical accuracy in Melody’s courageous story, American Girl got a six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators. What’s even better is the fact that among them was Civil Rights activist Julian Bond. They made sure to cover all the things that would have been fun for Melody in the ’60s, along with everything that would have been challenging.
“We do approach every character very thoughtfully so this isn’t something we rush into. We’re not looking to address critical demand–we’re looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can.” said Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing at American Girl, to CBSnews.
For a long time (up until 1988), Addy was the only non-white historical doll part of the American Girl brand. Addy’s story was a way of explaining the horrors of slavery in America to young girls. In a similar fashion, Melody’s story will continue educating kids on important eras of Black History, like the Civil Rights movement. And though there’s still a big lack of diversity within the American Girl brand, the addition of Melody is definitely a step in the right direction.
Melody will be available in stores this summer.