Little girls of 2012 have no idea who Diahann Carroll is nor do they know that she has a Barbie doll. In fact, Diahann Carroll’s barbie doll named Julia, is one of the first of many celebrity dolls. Today, we celebrate Dr Martin Luther King, Jr day. It seems rather fitting to write about this doll on such a special day.
The Julia doll was created in 1969, which is a year after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. The doll is based on a character played by actress Diahann Carroll. It’s interesting that during the time of the civil rights movement, Mattel created a black barbie doll.
Diahann Carroll’s character Julia was a widowed single Mom, who happened to also be a Registered Nurse. The show Julia was one of the first prime time shows to feature an African-American woman. Diahann Carroll won a Golden Globe for her role as Julia. Her character set the stage for shows that followed. Julia wasn’t your average struggling single black women with a child. She simply represented a single woman doing what was needed to take care of her family. Her role was non-stereotypical, which was rare for the 1960s.
In 2009, Mattel issued a reproduction of the Julia Doll as part of Barbie’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The doll’s appearance has been upgraded and her hair has been styled nicely. The Julia doll of the 60s’ hair would often turn red from oxidation. The original Julia doll can be found online for as high as $99. I’m glad this doll was re-entered into the Mattel Barbie doll line of celebrity dolls. This doll represents so much for African-American people and having it is like having a piece of history. It truly should be a collector’s item.
As a child, I didn’t have a Julia doll, but I think I’m going to add this one to my collection. This doll is great for the little girl who wants to be a nurse when she grows up. The doll and the Julia show gave women of color hope and displayed to little girls that they too could be like Julia; smart, intelligent, strong, and beautiful!