Mattel releases Rosa Parks Barbie doll

The Rosa Parks Barbie doll
The Rosa Parks Barbie doll retails for US$31. Photo credit: Mattel

There's a Barbie doll to represent every career path, from doctor to journalist to firefighter - and now there's one for the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks, the activist who rose to international fame in 1955 for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, has been immortalised in plastic.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first Barbie doll, Mattel launched its 'Inspiring Women' range featuring doll versions of icons such as Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart. 

Parks is the latest addition, along with astronaut Sally Ride who was the first American woman in space.

The doll retails for US$31 (NZ$48) and comes dressed in a historically accurate outfit of dress, coat, hat and gloves, as well as Parks' signature glasses. The official Mattel website depicts the doll - currently sold out - standing in front of a bus.

At the time of her pivotal act of civil disobedience, Parks was a prominent member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and had been involved in protesting racial segregation laws for years.

Rosa Parks Barbie doll
The doll comes dressed in a dress, coat, gloves, hat and boots. Photo credit: Mattel

Her refusal to move to the "coloured section" of the bus inspired the Montgomery bus boycott, an important event in the lead-up to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and cemented Parks' place in history as a key figure of racial justice. 

"Rosa Parks' quiet strength played a notable role in the civil rights movement," reads the doll's description on the Mattel website. 

Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999 and died in 2005, aged 92.


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