Trailblazing Black doll Baby Nancy inducted into National Toy Hall of Fame

Karu F. Daniels, New York Daily News
·1 min read

The first popular doll to have authentic-styled Black hair has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Baby Nancy, who exposed a long-standing demand for representation in toys when released in 1968, became the best-selling Black doll across the country.

The doll was produced when South Los Angeles-based Operation Bootstrap launched Shindana Toys, a community-owned company dedicated to making toys that “reflect Black pride, Black talent, and most of all, Black enterprise.”

The baby doll with a dark complexion and textured hair blazed a trail for ethnically correct Black dolls that the mainstream market had failed to deliver previously.

“Although Shindana Toys ceased operations in 1983, Baby Nancy still stands as a landmark doll that made commercial and cultural breakthroughs,” National Toy Hall of Fame curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer said in a statement.

Sidewalk Chalk and Jenga were also inducted into the Rochester, N.Y., collections-based museum.

Jenga, taking its name from “kujenga” (meaning “to build” in Swahili), was created by English woman Leslie Scott, and was inspired by wooden blocks from her childhood in Africa.

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