Black Dolls for Little Girls

by BrendaReeves

Little girls see no color when it comes to their dolls. They have the capacity to love every one of them.

During the 1940's, Kenneth and Mamie Clark, African-American psychologists, conducted an experiment using dolls to study children's attitudes about race. When presented with two dolls, the children were asked to point to the nice, pretty, smart doll and so on. Overwhelmingly, they pointed to the white dolls. This famous study, which evolved out of Mamie Clark's master's degree thesis, was presented as evidence in the Brown v. Board of Education case to show the damaging effects racial segregation had on African-American children. As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional.

White Girls and Black Dolls

Smiling, but wishing I had gotten the black baby doll.I've often wondered what the Clark's study would have revealed if white children had been used in the experiment. In 1953, when I was four years old, my Southern mother took me to Woolworth's Dime Store and pointed out several dolls lining a top shelf. She asked which doll I would like for Christmas. My eyes quickly focused on the most beautiful doll of them all, a black baby doll.

Mom chuckled to my grandmother who was with us and pointed out a large white, walking doll. "I think this one is prettier," she insisted. Not me, I didn't waver. I wanted the black baby doll.

On Christmas morning, I ripped the wrapping from my present. There was no doubt in my mind that the black doll was in the box. Disappointment overwhelmed me when a white walking doll with brown banana curls, wearing a satin dress stared back at me. As you can see, I managed a smile for a photo with my new doll.

Fast forward to the year 2012 and my mother, who is now 89 years old, confesses that when she was a little girl, she wanted a black doll so badly. She thought they were beautiful, but her mother wouldn't buy her one.

Does this anecdote suggest that the Clark's study was invalid? No, but it does demonstrate that children are not born with prejudices and bigotry. It's something that must be taught.

Beautiful Black Dolls

I present you with a sampling of beautiful black dolls from Amazon. I'm purposely avoiding calling them African-American dolls; not all people reading this article is an American. I've chosen dolls of all shades of black, or maybe I should say brown. If I have said anything in this article, that's deemed politically incorrect, I apologize. That certainly isn't my intention.

My goal is to point out that your little girl might view all people as good, beautiful and equal. You can promote that philosophy by not only purchasing a black doll but dolls of all ethnicities.

Hearts For Hearts Girls - Rahel from Ethiopia

Hearts For Hearts Girls - Rahel from Ethiopia

Celebrate a culture of courage with Rahel, our doll from Ethiopia! Like all Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls, Rahel stands 14 inches high and has a poseable, smooth vinyl body, and...

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Heart for Hearts Dolls

Rahel from Ethiopia

World Vision, a global humanitarian organization, distributes a donated portion of all Heart for Hearts Dolls to children's causes around the world. The manufacturer of these dolls pays special attention to details such as ethnic jewelry and cultural outfits.

Sierra Doll


The parents who purchased this doll on Amazon gave it rave reviews. It was purchased mainly for babies and toddlers. They graded it excellent for durability, reasonable price and how much their child liked it.

Aurora Plush Baby 10" Sierra Doll

Aurora Plush Baby 10" Sierra Doll

Aurora is the leading supplier of affordable, high quality gift products. Since its establishment in 1981, the company has ascended to become a respected leader in the character...

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Monster High Robecca Steam Doll

The manufacturer of this doll recommends it for ages 6 through 15. Judging from the reviews on Amazon, I'd say adults are collecting them also. Evidently the Robecca Steam Doll is hard to come by, but the people who were lucky enough to get one gave it wonderful reviews for its beauty and detail.

Black Monster High Doll

Monster High Robecca Steam Doll

Monster High Robecca Steam Doll The Monster High student body continues to grrrow with four new ghouls enrolling this year. Like her fellow classmates, Robecca Steam doll has a ...

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African-American Walk and Giggle Doll

Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Walk & Giggle African-American Doll

This darling Walk and Giggle Doll is growing up! Hold her hand and she responds to your touch, then look at her go from sitting to standing then walking ... all by herself! Fish...

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African-American Little Mommy Laugh and Giggle Doll

According to the manufacturer, Little Mommy Laugh and Giggle Doll goes from sitting, to standing, to walking. She plays peek-a-boo, drinks from her bottle and takes her puppy pull toy for a walk. She also speaks 60 phrases, sounds and songs. Of the four customer reviews of this doll on Amazon, all are rated excellent.


Madison looks like any modern girl in her blue jeans and her striped, pullover hoodie. She's completely posable and cuddly. You can even style her beautiful black hair. Madison is a quality, finely made doll.  Your daughter will want to keep and give to her daughter someday. She's so beautiful that doll collectors might want to add her to their collection.


Adora Girl Play Doll 18" Madison Ready For Fun - Black Hair Brown Eyes

201820990 Features: -Expressive play doll.-Pink and white striped, soft jersey knit hoodie.-Paired with distressed denim jeans and pink high-top tennis shoes.-Hand-crafted premi...

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Updated: 10/14/2012, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 05/20/2013

Thank you for the info. I'm going to check that out.

fitzcharming on 05/20/2013

Mattel makes a line of Barbies called So In Style dolls that represent several ethnicities. They are very pretty and popular. They fly off the shelves here in Florida. I've been trying to track down a black version of one of the SIS dolls and the stores are constantly sold out. There are some great doll blogs written by black doll collectors too. Long live black dolls!

BrendaReeves on 10/15/2012

Thank you Pam. At the time, I think all white mothers would have done that.

BrendaReeves on 10/15/2012

Thank you Katie. I would love to see that collection of dolls.

dustytoes on 10/15/2012

I never had a black doll and if I had wanted one I'll bet my mother would have done just what yours did - bought me a white one instead. Great article.

katiem2 on 10/15/2012

Nice dolls, dolls are a very crucial developmental toy for so many little girls. Thanks for highlighting so many wonderful dolls. My grandmother collected dolls, handed her collection down to my mother who collected dolls who is now handing their doll collection down to my daughters, I'm not interested in the dolls but my youngest is, my eldest daughter is not interested in them either. My daughter has a vast doll collection. I have most of them in storage.... She can have them when she's old enough to have a place for them or either decides they might go in a museum or the like. Great article on dark skinned dolls.

BrendaReeves on 10/14/2012

Thank you Holistic_Health.

Holistic_Health on 10/14/2012

Great subject. Dolls are more important than people realize, and you've selected some great ones to spotlight.

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