Annual Black Doll Show

The Black Doll Show at the William Grant Still Arts Center was started in the 1980s by the Friends of William Grant Still Arts Center, with contemporary artist/curator Cecil Fergerson (1931-2013) as its first curator. It was inspired by a doll test conducted by Mamie and Kenneth Clark in the 1940s. The tests concluded that due to social stigmas, many African-American children preferred white dolls over black dolls. This test went on to become evidence in civil rights law suits. The Clarks became expert witnesses in Brown vs. Board of Education, helping to create the landmark decision to desegregate schools. This doll test was conducted again in 2006 by 17 year old filmmaker Kiri Davis, sadly with the same results. The Black Doll Show is an annual winter tradition at WGSAC as positive self image remains just as necessary today for Africans and all people of color within the continent and in diaspora.

36th Annual Black Doll Show 
Paper, Plastic, Ceramics and Wood

Past Doll Shows

  • 2015 – Trench Art Retrospective: The War Against HIV/AIDS – Women Of The African Diaspora In The Trenches 
  • 2014 – A League Supreme- Jazz Superheroes
  • 2013- Dolls Gone Wild
  • 2012- Space Is The Place
  • 2011-  The Politics of Imagery
  • 2010 – The 3Rs: Remember, Recycle, Revive
  • 2009 – I’ve Got A Story To Tell
  • 2008 – Dolls of Color Around the World
  • 2006 – Lemons to Lemonade
  • 2004 – From the Cotton Fields to the New Millenium
  • 2003 – A Salute to Doll Artists
  • 2000 – Futuristic Dreams and Fantasies
  • 1999 – A Century of African American Dolls: The Pride and Politics of Portrayal
  • 1998 – Dolls: Social-Political Images, Collectibles & Toys
  • 1996 – Adventures in Dollhouse Land
  • 1995 – Black Dolls Are Maker’s Wonder
  • 1994 – Doll as Companion, Image and Treasure
  • 1990 – Black Dolls of the World: 10th Anniversary
  • 1982 – African American Dolls