Just in time for Black History Month, America Girl announced it was releasing its third Black doll to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary.
The newest edition to American Girl’s historical collection, Melody Ellison, is a 9-year-old girl living in Detroit during the ’60s. As with the other dolls, Melody will come with a book that describes the era in which she lives as well as optional accessories that are true to the time.
To make sure Melody’s story was authentic, American Girl assembled a panel of historians and educators, including the late civil rights icon Julian Bond, to give more context about the 1960s.
“When we learn about the civil rights movement, we learn about a handful of really important people. But the movement was… driven by average, ordinary Americans, like Melody,” Mark Speltz, the senior historian who helped develop Melody’s story, told CBS News.
Julia Prohaska, the company’s vice president of marketing, said American Girl added Melody to the brand’s collection so that it’ll better reflect the diversity of the nation.
“I think the doll industry has a very heavy responsibility in reflecting what is true about our society,” she explained.
Melody joins Addy, a civil war era doll who escaped slavery, and Cecile, a 19th century doll from New Orleans, in American Girl’s collection of Black dolls. She makes her debut in stores this summer.