American Girl Debuts African-American Doll From the Civil Rights Era 

This summer, the retailer is set to release a historical doll, named Melody, the third African-American doll from its BeForever line.

The Melody Ellison doll, representing the civil rights era, will be released late this summer. 
The Melody Ellison doll, representing the civil rights era, will be released late this summer.  CBS News screenshot

American Girl will be releasing a new historical doll this summer, the company’s third African-American doll in its BeForever historical line, CBS News reports

Melody Ellison’s story details her as a 9-year-old growing up in Detroit during the 1960s civil rights era. She loves to sing and uses her voice to help make a difference, the report notes. According to CBS, when asked why such a doll, representing such an important time in U.S. history, is being released only in 2016, Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing, said, “We do approach every character very thoughtfully, so this isn’t something we rush into. We’re not looking to address critical demand—we’re looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can.”

American Girl formed a six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators to ensure that Melody’s story rang true. The panel included late civil rights icon Julian Bond. 

“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, a historian who helped create Melody’s story, said.

Melody’s price tag starts at about $115, but if you want her recording studio and all her other accessories, the price will be almost $900. 

Read more at CBS News

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