From NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson to literary icon Maya Angelou, Barbie has long illuminated inspirational individuals who have positively contributed to the world. Most notably, the personalities they include in their collections have made it their mission to actively shift history for the better, no matter the era.
Through its “Inspiring Women” series, a line that commemorate female change-makers, the brand has introduced young children to role models across a variety of fields such as medicine, music and social activism. Previously, Barbie highlighted “sheros” tennis star Naomi Osaka and actress Yara Shahidi to highlight the iconic toy brand’s 60th anniversary. This year, civil rights activist Ida B. Wells is getting a signature doll made in her likeness.
Ida B. Wells was known for being a poignant journalist and activist whose work sculpted the most progressive movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She brought attention to the plight of Black Americans, specifically those who lived in the South in order to document and validate their experience. Born into slavery, Wells understood the importance of education as a means to improve the conditions of Black Americans while providing a foundation for survival in the United States.
As a suffragette, she was a fierce advocate for the rights of Black men, women, and children and frequently spoke out about the injustices that they faced. She founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and is also a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 2020, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously.