Golliwog – A Black Racist Doll?

A Golliwog Doll

A modern Golliwog doll

This is a Golliwog Doll. A simple sack of cloth filled with stuffing. For generations of children a beloved doll. But today, this Black doll has been turned into a racial negative.

How did this happen? How does a simple cloth doll that was loved for decades become a symbol of racism?

The doll didn’t change. Golliwogs today look much the same as they did 120 years ago when they were introduced as a character in The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls by Florence Kate Upton in 1895 my sources.

Golliwog - illustration by Florence Kate Upton

Golliwog – illustration by Florence Kate Upton

And she based the Golliwog doll on one she had owned as a child in the 1870’s. So what changed?  Let’s just say “The Times Changed.” It’s about as accurate an answer as there is for a simple doll store owner like myself.

But I would ask you: “As a doll lover, am I allowed to love Golliwog Dolls too? Can I love the doll while admitting that it is no longer a socially acceptable image? What do you think?

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