An All-American Girl

Although Black History Month may have just ended, American Girl is set to release a doll this summer that will honor black history every day of the year.

According to CBS, the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the release of a doll named Melody Ellison, “a nine-year-old growing up in Detroit during the 1960s civil rights era, a girl who loves to sing and uses her voice to make a difference.”

CBS says that Melody represents one of the most important periods in U.S. history for African Americans. Vice President of Marketing for American Girl Julia Prohaska said that the decision to launch Melody was the result of very careful decision making. “We’re not looking to address critical demand — we’re looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can,” she explained.

To ensure an authentic story, Senior Historian on the project Mark Speltz was hired to develop Melody’s story.

“When we learn about the civil rights movement, we learn about a handful of really important people. But the movement was… driven by average, ordinary Americans, like Melody,” Speltz said.

Speltz was just one of several hired to form a “six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators, including the late civil rights activist Julian Bond,” reports CBS.

The board collaborated with lead designer Heather Northrop and her team on Melody’s every detail, making sure that her hair was the right texture and giving her accessories indicative of the times, like a recording studio that plays Motown music, all to breathe life into Melody’s story.

Melody will make her debut at American Girl stores around the country late this summer, starting at $115. But her recording studio and other accessories will amount to a $900 purchase, says CBS.