Barbie has announced a new doll to honor Ida B. Wells as part of its “Inspiring Women” series. The Barbie representing Wells, a journalist and civil rights leader, holds a “Memphis Free Speech” newspaper, which Wells wrote for.
The doll will be out on January 17, Martin Luther King Day, according to a post debuting the doll on the Barbie Instagram account.
“Born into slavery, Ida grew to become a journalist, activist, and suffragist – bringing light to the stories of injustice that Black people faced in her lifetime, and co-founding several organizations including the NAACP,” the post reads. “When kids learn about heroes like Ida B. Wells, they don’t just imagine a better future – they know they have the power to make it come true. Available at major retailers by January 17th.
Barbie’s “Inspiring Women” series is dedicated to spotlighting heroes who paved the way for generations of girls to dream big and make a difference. Civil rights activist Rosa Parks, nurse Florence Nightingale, singer Ella Fitzgerald, disability advocate Hellen Keller, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou and astronaut Sally Ride are also featured as Barbies in the series.
The post sharing the news about the Wells doll on Instagram included a quote from her: “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
Wells became the editor and co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight, which was was destroyed by a white lynch mob. After losing her friends to hate crimes and racial violence, she wrote “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases,” which analyzed the surge of violence against African Americans in the South.
She was also one of the founders of the NAACP civil rights organization.
Wells earned a posthumous Pulitzer citation in 2020. “Here is this woman, born in slavery, who provided the template for the type of journalism I wanted to do, the type of person I wanted to be,” journalist Nikole Hannah-JonesMichelle Miller last year. “She was one of the nation’s first investigative reporters. … She’s the reason that we began to catalog the number of lynchings.”