Thursday, February 10, 2011

BDHT: Miss Black America

Effanbee's Miss Black America, pictured above, from the International Collection, circa 1980 was a gift to my daughter when she was three.  My sister was a freshman at a university in Denver, Colorado when she purchased this doll from a nearby doll shop. 

There are at least three versions of Effanbee's Miss Black America.  Each one wears an afrocentric style dress and headwrap.  The dress fabric varied each year.   My doll wears a brown paisley and floral-print  dress and originally had a matching headwrap.  After inheriting the doll from my daughter, whose interest in dolls ceased around age 17, I replaced the missing headwrap with a swatch from a brown bandana.  The doll's original brown sandals are missing and remain unreplaced. 

Miss Black America is 11 inches tall, has a soft vinyl head and plastic body.  The copyright date of 1975/1976 on the neck indicates the year this mold was introduced.  Effanbee, like many other doll manufacturers used the same doll to refashion, rename, and reintroduce to the doll market year after year, until the face mold was finally retired.   Miss Black America was discontinued in 1980.

After reliving the memories of how Miss Black America entered my collection, I wondered, "What ever happened to the Miss Black America Pageant?" and whether or not it inspired the creation of the Effanbee doll.   My pondering led to a Google search and link to the official Miss Black America website.  While there, I viewed the Miss Black America video and relived pleasant moments of my Black history.  I also read what inspired J. Morris Anderson to organize the first pageant in 1967.  Links to the website and the pageant's history follow.

Miss Black America website - (Please watch the video.)
History of the Miss Black America Pageant (Please read this.)

Additional Information
The first African Americans (AA) to appear in the Miss America Pageant performed as slaves in 1923.  1970 marked the first year an AA woman entered the Miss America Pageant, which is why there was a need for a Miss Black America Pageant.  Read more here


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1 comment:

  1. "The first African Americans (AA) to appear in the Miss America Pageant performed as slaves in 1923."

    Wow, that's awful. How many years post-slavery and slavery is the image for a Miss America? Doesn't sound very American, does it? Then again, for the time, I suppose it was. Tsk.


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