From “This Where Freedom Supposed to Be At” to “She Knew She Would Never Stop Speaking Out for What Was Right”: Racial Logics and African American Identity in American Girl
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Zaslow explores the tensions, conflicts, and challenges of representing racially and ethnically diverse American experiences. This chapter analyzes variations in American Girl face molds, some of which intend to signify racial or ethnic features, and explores the specific narrative representation of African American experiences in American history. From Addy, the company’s first African American doll, launched in 1986 whose series protrayed her escaping slavery and experiencing racism, freedom, and the reunification of her family in the 1860s, to Melody, released in 2016, who works with her family and community to fight for social change during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, this chapter focuses on the narrative and material representation of African American experiences in American Girl’s historical collection.