In 1993, American Girl set out to introduce its first black character. All she had to do was represent the entire history of black America. [more inside]
In 1864, a nine-year-old slave girl was punished for daydreaming. Distracted by rumors that her brother and father would be sold, she failed to remove worms from the tobacco leaves she was picking. The overseer didn’t whip her. Instead, he pried her mouth open, stuffed a worm inside, and forced her to eat it. This girl is not real.
The Atlantic reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
In the 1980s, American Girl dolls became an obsession for many young girls. The early options were limited, but the "family" of dolls has expanded to have Native American, New Mexican, African-American, and Jewish girls represented. Reaching across to a new un-tapped demographic: American Girl has released a homeless doll. Gwen Thompson, the homeless girl, retails for $95.