Share Our Dream
It is our intention to establish a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of dolls of color as play and learning tools for our children.
American Black Beauty Doll Association (ABBDA) wishes to invite you to share our dream and vision of a better place. It is our intention to establish a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of dolls of color as play and learning tools for our children; promoting an exchange of ideas and experiences; studying ways and means of increasing the volume, beauty, availability and quality of dolls of color on the market; elevating the self-esteem of our children by making images available to them that represent them in a positive manner; and elevation of the status of our profession and individual members of the organization by continually upgrading and refining our skills in all aspects of doll-making. You are a part of that vision and we wish to share it fully with each and every one of you.
In 1984 Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America; The Cosby Show premiered and portrayed the black family in a positive light; Run D.M.C. became the first rappers to have a certified gold album; and six women from Oakland, California, with numerous creative backgrounds, came together to forge an alliance to create beautiful black dolls to inspire, motivate, teach and uplift children of color.
Karen Oyekanmi, a young mother and artist had a desire for her daughter to play with dolls that reflected her beauty. In 1983 it was nearly impossible to find any black dolls in retail stores, especially ones that reflected a positive image.
So, in 1984 Karen decided to bring together a small but determined group of black artists with a common mission - to create black dolls in a positive image for children of color. Grace Brodus, Florence May, Cheryl Buckley, Gail Ellis, Audrey Ellis and Karen Oyekanmi founded the American Black Beauty Doll Club (ABBDC). They took time researching the doll market, networking with the community and perfecting their skills as black doll artists.
In September 1985, ABBDC sponsored the first Festival of Black Dolls Show & Sale in Oakland, California. Each year the Festival brings together thousands of unique beautiful black dolls and hosts talented doll artists from all over the country, all under one roof.
Envisioning an organization that not just appreciates but supports and fosters the creativity of black doll artists, the American Black Beauty Doll Club changed its name to the American Black Beauty Doll Artists, in 2002. To further our purpose, we incorporated and became a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization, becoming the American Black Beauty Doll Association (ABBDA) in 2018.
American Black Beauty Doll Association is the oldest black doll organization in the United States. Our mission is to continue to build a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of dolls of color for
play, collecting and as positive learning tool for our children and adults as well. ABBDA stands firmly by our mission to work to increase the volume, availability and quality of dolls of color in the marketplace. To elevate the
self-esteem of our children by creating positive images and heightening the awareness of the importance of black dolls and dolls of color in our community and across the nation.