Published On: Fri, Aug 26th, 2022

Things We Saw Today: New American Girl Doll Claudie Is Dropping & She’s Living in 1920s Harlem!

Claudie (doll) on her scooter. Image: American Girl.

Like Barbie, the American Girl brand is kind of having a renaissance right now. I can’t really pinpoint where this renewed interest started but a few sources could be the 2021 rerelease of previously archived historical dolls and the surge of political memes related to the dolls in the first half of 2022. For those who only know them as the doll, the book series that accompanied the release of each character featured the girls coming into their own and learning to actively engage with the turbulent world around them. Now, they’re releasing the first historical doll in almost a decade, and her name is Claudie Wells.

Claudie (doll) hanging out in her father's bakery. Image: American Girl.
(American Girl)

Created by The Vanishing Half author Brit Bennett (who campaigned on this for years), Claudie is a child living during the Harlem Renaissance and is trying to figure out what her talent is at a time and space of flourishing Black art. This is very exciting for many reasons, but mostly because this will be the first Black American Girl historical character that is centered around a positive time. The 1920s for most Black Americans wasn’t great, but the heart of this doll’s story is still in contrast with the other dolls whose stories center on Civil Rights (Melody of the 1960s) and slavery (Addy of the 1860s). Each book and doll rollout is focused on historical accuracy and empowerment.

The Mary Sue

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