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The late 1960s and early 1970s were watershed years in the business of Black dolls. Recognizing new levels of Black purchasing power, and increasingly conscious of both civil rights movement demands for inclusion in consumer culture and psychologists’ concern about racial identity formation, virtually every manufacturer began producing Black dolls. Yet for many Black Americans, the industry practice of simply tinting a white doll brown was insufficient; parents wanted dolls that were, by design, recognizably and respectfully Black. A handful of white-owned companies took these appeals seriously, developing plans to court Black consumers with new “ethnically correct” designs and race-conscious appeals. While none of them could resolve the challenges of representation, the mass inclusion of nonstereotyped Black dolls in product lines, TV commercials, and store shelves had a lasting impact—affirming Black children’s legitimate place not only in the world of toys but also in the world of childhood itself.

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