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The Boston Globe



Doll museum depicts the African-American experience

Doll museum depicts the African-American experience.

History’s “ugly truths” are here inside an unlocked cabinet just inside the entrance to the new National Black Doll Museum in Mansfield.

Visitors can reach into the cabinet and touch figures of mammy dolls and dolls made by slaves from bells, thimbles, and animal wishbones; or a dark-faced pickaninny doll, whose hair is divided into a zillion little braids, each tied with a red bow. Then there are the golliwogs — minstrel-type rag dolls popularized in the 19th century whose jet-colored skin, white-rimmed eyes, and red clown lips sparked heated debates about how toy companies and popular media were depicting African-Americans. The cabinet is titled the Ugly Truth.

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