American Girl's Past African-American Historical Characters
Claudie Wells, American Girl's fourth African-American historical character, is releasing in two short days! To celebrate her release, I decided to take a look back at the other 3 African-American Historical Characters, Addy Walker, Cecile Rey and Melody Ellison.
American Girl's first African-American historical character, was Addy Walker from 1864. She was released in 1993, and was both American Girl's first doll of color overall and the first American Girl doll with a different face mold than the Classic mold.
Addy's story begins when she is enslaved on a North Carolinian plantation during the Civil War. When her father and brother are sold to a different enslaver, Addy and her mom escape to freedom in Philadelphia together, and Addy starts school, discovers a love for education, and along the way, reunites with her family.
Addy's book series was written by Connie Porter, and she also had a live-action play in children's theaters in 2007 in 21 cities across America. As of 2022, Addy is cubed, but is still available for purchase with her accessories and books.
American Girl didn't release a second African-American character until 2011, nearly 20 years after Addy. That year, they released Cecile Rey from 1853.
Cecile is a well-to-do girl living in New Orleans in 1853 who likes to sing. She meets Marie-Grace Gardner, a new girl in town, and becomes friends with her. Her life changes when the yellow fever epidemic starts in New Orleans, and she and Marie-Grace team up to help out during the tough time.
Cecile had 3 books written by Denise Lewis Patrick, but Cecile was quickly retired in 2014 due to the BeForever changeover and discontinuation of best friend dolls.
American Girl's third African-American historical character, Melody Ellison from 1963, was released in 2016.
Melody is living with her family in Detroit during the civil rights movement. She loves to sing, especially with her church choir, but when she is chosen to do a solo, she decides to sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to show her support for the movement. This launches Melody's journey in using her own unique voice for justice and equality in different ways.
Melody's book series was written by Denise Lewis Patrick, and she was featured in both an Amazon Prime special, where she was portrayed by Marsai Martin, and the American Girl Live touring musical, where she was played by Laila Drew.
Melody and her collection are both still available.
I am so excited for Claudie's release! I'm sure Addy, Cecile and Melody are excited too.
Do you all prefer Addy, Cecile or Melody? I have to admit I love Melody, but ultimately Addy is the one I love most. You can't go wrong with a classic!