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American Girl premieres Civil Rights era doll

Meet the nine-year-old African-American girl named Melody Ellison. She lived in Detroit during the 1960s Civil Rights era. 

In a statement to Mashable, the company says after experiencing racial inequality and seeing her family face prejudice, Melody uses her singing to “blend her voice with others in harmony.“ 

In another interview, Vice President of Marketing Julia Prohaska described the responsibility for companies such as American Girl Doll to create dolls like Melody: "I think the doll industry has a very heavy responsibility in reflecting what is true about our society.”

This is the company’s third African-American doll since parent company Pleasant Company was founded in 1986. The brand faced criticism last year when it pulled four dolls, two of which were dolls of color, African-American Cécile Rey and Chinese-American Ivy Ling. By limiting the diversity of experiences in its doll collection, American Girl has been accused of “whitewashing” history.

In the current BeForever line (dolls based around important time periods in American history), there are three other dolls of color: Addy, a former slave who escapes to her freedom, Kaya, a Native American doll whose story is set before European colonization, and Josefina, who lives on a ranch near Santa Fe, shortly after Mexico gained its independence.

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