“We seldom study the condition of the Negro to-day honestly and carefully. It is so much easier to assume that we know it all. Or perhaps, having already reached conclusions in our own minds, we are loth to have them disturbed by facts. . .”

W.E.B. DuBois,The Souls of Black Folks, 1903

Black Paper Dolls in America

Ashley Holcroft, Producer/Editor

KCPT/The Bridge      June 17, 2016


Paper dolls may not seem like a tool to prompt discussions about race and equality, but the curators at the National Toy and Miniature Museum would like to beg to differ.      3:50 minutes

The Power of Play

Byline Ieshia McDonald

KC Studio May/June 2016, Pages 66-68


Exhibit examines racial messages of Black paper dolls from Civil War era to the present. . . . To make a paper doll you need paper, utensils used for drawing and/or coloring, an imagination, and illustrated clothing for the dolls.

A deeper look at toys: Kansas City Toy Museum examines how toys and history are intertwined

By Terra Hall

KSHB/ The Now (NBC affiliate) April 7, 2016


KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On the surface, toys are just that. But when you take a deeper look, they can give you a glimpse into American history. That's exactly what the latest exhibit at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures seeks to do.

What Black Paper Dolls Tell Us About American History

By Steve Kraske & Lisa Rodriguez

KCUR 89.3 Feb 19, 2016


Steve Kraske talks with Arabella Grayson about black paper dolls.

Paper dolls have been popular toys for children for centuries, but the black versions of these toys often depict racial stereotypes that reflect how society viewed African Americans.      25:07 minutes

Paper Doll Parties in the Park (Grant 90)

The Awesome Foundation May 15, 2014


Arabella Grayson’s hunt for “playthings that looked like her” resulted in the gorgeous touring exhibition “Two Hundred Years of Black Paper Dolls.” Now the freelance writer and public relations consultant is taking her dolls on the road.

Paper Dolls, Other Lessons at Crocker

Byline: Claudia Buck

Sacramento Bee Feb. 19, 2013, Page B1


It was a sight to warm a teacher's heart on a school holiday: A room full of big dads hunched over little tables, helping their kids color, cut and glue ... paper dolls.

Defying the stereotype that paper dolls are just for little girls, plenty of boys and fathers joined the doll-making session Monday, as part of the Crocker Art Museum's Black History Month celebration.

Black Paper Doll Devotee

Byline: Arabella Grayson

Today's Vintage Sep. 2012


As a child I played with paper dolls, sitting for hours on the living room floor carefully cutting out clothes, and creating grown-up scenarios . . .

Making Paper

Byline: Arabella Grayson

TheRoot.com Sep. 18, 2008


The latest black paper dolls are not child's play. They're about high art and the arc of black history.

Lies and Dolls

Byline: Soledad Santiago

Jun. 1-7, 2007, Page 26

COPYRIGHT 2007 The New Mexican


Early in her career, writer, performer, and photographer Arabella Grayson traveled the United States as a recruitment officer for her alma mater, Mills College in Oakland, Calif. In her spare time she visited flea markets and garage sales looking for positive images of lives within the African diaspora.

How Do We Know Who We Are? Image, Identity and the Media

Byline: Arabella Grayson

Mills Quarterly, Winter 2007

COPYRIGHT 2007 Arabella Grayson


How do we know who we are? That was the question I asked myself as I stood in the children's section of Barnes and Noble ten years ago, looking at an Addy paper doll and trying to reconcile her image with the publisher's story line.

Should We Cut It Out?

Byline: Anne Koenig

Jan. 21, 2007, Page 4

COPYRIGHT 2007 Sunday News Lancaster, PA


Are you the one who put the black paper dolls in the newspaper? Well, that's not cute! That's not cute! You hurt a lot of people. That's not cute!" scolded the woman on the telephone, . . .

Exhibit Traces Black History Through Black Paper Dolls

By Farai Chideya

NPR News & Notes Jan. 4, 2007


To most people, paper dolls are playthings from past generations. But for one woman, they're a window into the way African-Americans have been portrayed by popular culture. 6:28 minutes

The Unkindest Cut: A History of Black Paper Dolls

Byline: DeNeen L. Brown

Nov. 29, 2006 Page C01

COPYRIGHT 2007 The Washington Post Company


A slip of the scissors and off comes a foot.

It Started With One Black Paper Doll

Byline: Anita Creamer

Nov. 12, 2006, Page L01

COPYRIGHT 2006 The Sacramento Bee


A toy is not necessarily just a toy. What we play with helps define who we are and how we see ourselves.

The Arts: Paper Dolls Reflect Black Social Roles

Byline: Patrick Hoge, Chronicle Staff Writer

Feb. 13, 2004, Page E-1

COPYRIGHT San Francisco Chronicle


Paper dolls, mass-produced in Europe and the United States, have entertained children for centuries

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