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What Black Paper Dolls Tell Us About American History

Paper dolls have been popular toys for children for centuries, but the black versions of these toys often depict racial stereotypes that reflect how society viewed African Americans. 


  • Arabella Grayson is a writer, photographer and the collector of over 300 black paper dolls from around the world. Her collection is the latest exhibition at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City.

The exhibit featuring Grayson's collection, "Stereotypes to Civil Rights: Black Paper Dolls in America" will be on display at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through August. An opening reception takes place Friday, February 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the museum. 

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.