Legendary Black journalist Ida B. Wells is the latest historical figure to be transformed into a Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s “Inspiring Women” series.
A statement shared on Instagram from the official Barbie account reads, “#Barbie is proud to honor the incredible Ida B. Wells as the newest role model in our Inspiring Women series, dedicated to spotlighting heroes who paved the way for generations of girls to dream big and make a difference […] When kids learn about heroes like Ida B. Wells, they don’t just imagine a better future – they know they have the power to make it come true.”
The post also shared a famous quote from Wells’ book, The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader, that reads, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
The doll wears a modest navy blue, floor-length dress with black-and-white lace accents and includes a mini replica of the Memphis Free Speech— the newspaper where Wells became editor and co-owner in 1889. As a fearless anti-lynching activist, Wells investigated white mob violence and penned ferocious indictments regarding the lynchings of Black men. This infuriated locals to the point where they destroyed the Memphis Free Speech offices.
Michelle Duster—author, public historian, and great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells— shared in a statement provided to NPR, “My great-grandmother was a trailblazer, who courageously followed her convictions and challenged the status quo by fighting for civil rights and women’s suffrage. This is an incredible opportunity to shine a light on her truth and enduring legacy to empower a new generation to speak up for what they believe in.”
The doll goes on sale starting Monday (Jan. 17), aligning with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Other remarkable figures included in the series are Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dr. Maya Angelou, who recently made history as the first Black woman to appear on a U.S. quarter.