Ida B. Wells Receives Her Own Barbie Doll

by Jhanaya Belle

January 14, 2022

Photo Credit: University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08641

Ida B. Wells, co-founder of the NAACP, anti-lynching fighter, and suffragist, is Mattel’s latest historical icon to be recognized with her own Barbie doll. Wells gained notoriety as an investigative journalist who focused on lynchings and other forms of racial discrimination.

Wells’ doll is the most recent addition to Barbie’s “Inspiring Women” doll series, and it depicts Wells in an 1800s-style high-neck blue dress with her natural hair styled atop her head.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them,” the official Barbie company stated in an Instagram post.

Barbie’s “Inspiring Women” series honors women who have paved the path for future generations of girls to achieve their goals and make a difference. Wells has now joined the ranks of civil rights hero Rosa Parks, musician Ella Fitzgerald, and poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who was just named the first Black woman to appear on a US-minted quarter.

Wells was photographed clutching a copy of Memphis Free Speech, the publication she co-founded and served as editor for. The pioneer wore a laced completed dress and black buttoned boots in other images.

“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,” the doll company says.

According to the National Park Service, Wells was born into slavery in 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the oldest daughter of James, and Lizzie Wells.  The Emancipation Proclamation, issued during the American Civil War, eventually released the writer.

Photo by: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

The co-founder of the NAACP had a life-changing experience while traveling by train from Memphis to Woodstock, Tennessee, where she worked as a teacher. After refusing to give up her seat for one in a segregated section, she was forcibly removed from the train.

Wells sued Southwest Railroad Co. in Chesapeake, Ohio, and the court ruled in her favor in 1884, only to have the decision overturned by the state’s supreme court.

“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.”

Fans share their thoughts on the new addition to the “Inspiring Women” series.

“Inspiring and beautiful! Thank you for highlighting the impact of this amazing woman,” one fan exclaims.

Another fan shares their opinion on the new addition and the doll’s looks.

“This is amazing and she looks stunning.”

One person also shares their excitement to add the doll to their collection.

“Yay!!! Added her to my collection last week…Thank you @barbie for making my Black History Month Extra Special!!!”

The doll is set to be in major retail stores on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17th.

Tell us, will you be supporting and purchasing the doll? Let us know your thoughts below.

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