The New-York Historical exhibition Black Dolls prompted The Magazine Antiques to reprint an expanded version of one of their favorite articles in the March/April 2022 edition. The Black Dolls essay by Pulitzer Prize–winning critic Margo Jefferson begins on page 82. Learn the backstory.
Black Dolls (February 25 -- June 5, 2022) explores handmade cloth dolls made primarily by African American women between 1850 and 1940 through the lens of race, gender, and history. Examining the formation of racial stereotypes and confronting the persistence of racism in American history. It features more than 100 cloth dolls, alongside dozens of historical photographs of white and Black children posed with their playthings and caregivers. A coda explores 20th-century commercial dolls marketed to a broader audience of Black families seeking to instill pride in their children. Through these humble yet potent objects, Black Dolls reveals difficult truths about American history and invites visitors to engage in the urgent national conversation around the legacy of slavery and race.