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    Black is Beautiful: Why Black Dolls Matter

    Most of us think of dolls as children’s playthings, but they have a story to tell about race, culture, heritage, and history.

    This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at Collectors Weekly.

    As a little girl, Samantha Knowles didn’t stop to consider why
    most of her dolls–her American Girl dolls, her Cabbage Patch Kids, her Barbie
    dolls–were black like her. But black dolls were not common in her upstate New York hometown, whose
    population remains overwhelmingly white. So when Knowles was 8 years old, one
    of her friends innocently asked “Why do you have black dolls?” And she didn’t
    know quite what to say.

    But that question stuck with her, and in college, she started to consider
    how she would answer as an adult. Finally, as an undergraduate film student at
    Dartmouth, she connected with a small but passionate group of black doll
    enthusiasts who gather at black doll shows around the country, and for her
    senior honors thesis, Knowles, now 22, completed a documentary called Why Do You Have Black Dolls? to articulate the answer.