Art doll

Black journalist and activist in the spotlight with Barbie doll

Image of the new Ida B. Wells doll released by Mattel’s for its new Inspiring Women series. (Photo courtesy of Mattel / Aly Lloyd)

Ida B. Wells, a black journalist and civil rights activist, will be honored for her lifetime achievement with a new Barbie doll for Mattel’s new Inspiring Women series.

The new doll wears a long lace dress and holds a miniature replica of the newspaper “Memphis Free Speech”, a publication of which she is a co-owner. According to Mattel, the Wells doll costs $ 29.99 and will be available from January 17 at major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target. The company said the doll captures the activist spirit of Wells to inspire girls through doll play.

“We are incredibly proud to welcome pioneering civil rights activist and suffragist Ida B. Wells to the Barbie Inspiring Women line, so children can learn more about the great strides she has made towards equality during of her life, ”according to a statement from Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls for Mattel. “It is so important that children are exposed to role models like Ida B. Wells to remind them that they are powerful and can make a difference in the world.”

Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi and became a teacher and established the first kindergarten for black children. She moved to the South Side of Chicago in 1894. Wells became an investigative journalist who fought against the lynching of blacks and advocated for women’s suffrage.

She was also a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC) in 1896 and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Image of the new Ida B. Wells doll released by Mattel for its new Inspiring Women series. (Photo courtesy of Mattel / Aly Lloyd)

A massive art installation honoring Wells was on display at Union Station in Washington, DC in August 2021 to commemorate 100 years of women’s constitutional right to vote, according to FOX5 DC. In February 2019, a street in Chicago was named Wells. Ida B. Wells Drive stretches from Grant Park in the west to the entrance to the Eisenhower Freeway.

Barbie launched the Inspiring Women series in 2018, a line of dolls dedicated to honoring historical and current models who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger, according to Mattel.

The Inspiring Women series paid tribute to a diverse group of women including Dr Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Sally Ride, Billie John the King and Florence Nightingale.

FOX5 DC, FOX32 Chicago, and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

This story was reported from Washington, DC