If there is one piece of toy that has been celebrated the world over, it is the Barbie doll. A hit with kids, the doll has managed to stay germane and popular for years. A big chunk of its popularity stems from the fact that the makers have kept it eclectic and culturally inclusive. There’s a Barbie for every season — she’s a journalist, an astronaut, a firefighter, a politician, a pilot — and society.
Now, keeping up with this interesting and inspiring mix, the company Mattel has introduced a Barbie doll honouring civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, along with educational material about her life.
Who was Rosa Parks?
Often remembered as the ‘first lady of civil rights’, Parks was an American activist who played a pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. It was her refusal to give up her seat for a white man in 1955 that sparked a revolution — a mass black boycott of buses led by Martin Luther King Jr — that also got her arrested.
At the time, a bizarre rule was followed. Black passengers were expected to pay at the front of the bus, get down, walk towards the back of the vehicle and then re-enter it. In case the bus would be crowded, they would have to vacate their seats for white passengers.
Parks’ defiant act of courage won her the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999 — the highest civilian award in the USA.
About the doll
The Parks-inspired doll is from another era and dresses accordingly.
Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series
The latest addition to the series is the doll emulating Parks. She joins the ranks of other inspiring women like Sally Ride — the first American woman in space, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and American mathematician Katherine Johnson.
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