Mississippi Journalist Ida B. Wells Honored with New Barbie Doll

Wells is the latest addition to Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series, which also includes dolls dedicated to fellow Southern activists Helen Keller and Rosa Parks.  

Ida B. Wells, a journalist, activist, and educator best known for her fight to abolish lynching, is the latest heroine to be honored with a signature Barbie doll. Part of Barbie's Inspiring Women Series, Wells joins icons Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Fitzgerald, and other historical and present-day role models in a collection that memorializes those who have paved the way for generations of girls.

Ida B Wells Barbie

Photographer: Jason Tidwell / Stylist: Jen Hoon

The new doll's design features Wells wearing a floor-length midnight blue dress with black and white lace detail and black heeled boots. She holds a copy of the Memphis Free Speech, the newspaper that she became editor and co-owner of in 1889.

"We are incredibly proud to welcome pioneering civil rights activist and suffragist Ida B. Wells to the Barbie Inspiring Women line, so kids can learn more about the great strides she made toward equality during her lifetime," said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. "It is so important for kids to be exposed to role models like Ida B. Wells to remind them that they are powerful and can make a difference in the world."

Ida B Wells Barbie
Courtesy of Barbie / Mattel

Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells began her professional career as an elementary school teacher in Memphis. As an investigative reporter and researcher, she became a major player in the early civil rights and suffragist movements. Wells's activism and role in exposing the horrors of lynching eventually led to her becoming a cofounder of the NAACP and winning a Pulitzer Prize.

The Ida B. Wells Inspiring Women doll will be sold at Amazon, Walmart, and Target to kick off this year's celebration of Black History Month, beginning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17.

To honor Wells' legacy as a writer and leader, Barbie is partnering with Girls Write Now, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring the next generation of writers and leaders while breaking down barriers of gender, race, age, and poverty. Through a donation from the Barbie Dream Gap Fund, Girls Write Now will provide high school girls across the nation with writing and publishing programs. Barbie will also host a virtual event on February 18 with Michelle Duster, the great granddaughter of Ida B. Wells.

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