Business and Commerce

Black-Owned Businesses

What was the importance of the National Negro Doll Company?

Racial stereotyping found its way into cultural artifacts that were produced in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as can be seen in artifacts for amusement, such as dolls and other toys. The National Negro Doll Company was founded to introduce African-American children to dolls that looked like them, as opposed to the white dolls or stereotypical black dolls that were on the market. The company was founded in Nashville, Tennessee, as a part of the National Baptist Publishing Board, and managed by Henry Allen Boyd, son of the founder, Reverend Richard Henry Boyd. The company also supported the “buy black” campaign then in practice. The dolls were imported from Europe, advertised in the black press, and displayed and sold at bazaars and fairs nationwide. In the early 1900s, attempts were made to discredit the National Negro Doll Company and reduce the sale and distribution of black dolls that portrayed positive images. This came after the sale of white dolls in the black community declined and was as an effort to minimize the economic benefits that the African-American doll company reaped.


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