Sep 162019

The Rosa Parks celebrity doll portrays her as herself at 42 years old, an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. On December 1, 1955  she violated Alabama segregation laws and refused to move to the back of the bus. Her arrest and prominence in the black community inspired a year long Montgomery bus boycott and eventual win in the Supreme Court bus lawsuit in November 1956 and passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

The doll was made by Mattel in 2019 and is part of their Barbie® Inspiring Women™ series of dolls.  It is a Black Label doll designed by Kelley Lindberg and was released in the United States on August 25, 2019 at a retail price of $30.99,  along with the Mattel Sally Ride doll, also part of the Inspiring Women™ series and in the Celebrity Doll Museum collection.

From the box:

Rosa Parks


Barbie® recognizes all female role models. The Inspiring Women™ Series pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.

Rosa Louise Parks led an ordinary life as a seamstress until an extraordinary moment on December 1, 1955. When she refused an order to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus, Mrs. Parks’ act of defiance became the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks’ quiet strength played a notable role in the civil rights movement, but it would still take another nine years and more struggles before the 1964 Civil Rights Movement,” Rosa Parks earned worldwide recognition and numerous awards including the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

Girls need more role models like Rosa Parks because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning, Actually seeing that they can makes all the difference.


The Rosa Park doll wears a soft gray overcoat with black trim cuffs and gray collar with faux pockets. The front is closed with a tacking stitches and fastener.  The neck line is wide enough that the coat can be removed without cutting them by sliding the doll out.

Underneath is a sleeveless tightly tailored yellow flowered dress.  The material is 1:6 scales reproduction of the dress Rosa Parks was carrying in a bag the day she was arrested in 1955.  She had made it for a friend and decades after it was returned from the police, she donated it to another friend who ran an African American Museum of Fashion, which eventually saw it pass on to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture upon her death. See the article from the Washington Post here.  The real dress was a long-sleeved wrap-around, but same material and a nice piece of history in the design of the Parks doll.  The dress can be removed from a Velcro opening in the back. 

On her head there is a fastener attached black plastic molded hat with a white flower on the front right, a 1:6 replica of the one Rosa Parks is wearing in the 1955 mugshot. You could clip the fasteners to remove the hat. There is rooted hair underneath. Her replica silver rimless glasses are tacked with brown string into the the head above the ears.  They could also be removed, but no need since they would get lost and the doll would no longer resemble Parks.

White gloves (really mittens) on the hands and she carries a small black plastic clutch/wallet if you rubber band it to the hands. Get your tiny poly-bands here. The doll has Barbie hi-heel feet with gray plastic sensible heeled shoes.  So sensible, in fact, that the Rosa Parks doll can stand on its own with a little patience and no big buses disturbing the ground outside. Molded into the body are body colored Barbie panties and copyright/model markings.

 The medium length rooted brown and black hair is tied with a black polyband into a ponytail in the back and  brown wispy hairs are painted at the hairline. 

The doll has limited articulation. It is articulated at the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and neck. Ankles and waist are fixed.  The shoulders, knees, elbows  and wrists rotate as well as bend.  The neck rotates and moves up and down on a ball joint.  The limiting hips and stiff torso are what limits the articulation.

The hips are very disappointing. They go forward and back and apart, but don’t go all the way.  When moving forward the legs must spread and the thighs don’t come up to a 90 degree angle.  Mattel what are you thinking?  The doll body of the woman who is literally known for sitting on a bus, can’t sit properly.  At first it seemed the tight dress was restricting it, but no even undressed the doll can’t sit up straight.  Perhaps they didn’t expect anyone to take it out of the box.  Other than that it is very easy to pose the head and arms.

Accessories include a black based clear stemmed doll stand and an official Mattel Barbie Signature, Black Label, Rosa Parks Certificate of Authenticity. The head is stamped ©2018 Mattel, the body ©2015 Mattel, and the box and design ©2019 Mattel.

The Rosa Parks doll can be removed completely without damaging the box. One piece of tape holding the top flap closed and the entire insert slides out.  Feet slide out if you remove the shoes, hands slide out if you remove the wallet and its attachment.  The plastic chest holder mold can be removed from the cardboard backing in the back by releasing the 3 plastic tabs. Once pulled forward, the head fasteners can be clipped (careful you don’t cut the hair) or pulled through tiny holes if you want to leave them in.  The coat is tacked to the box at the bottom with two stitches, one on each side. The final step involves wrestling the plastic harness under the clothes attaching the doll to the plastic mold. Once the arrow tie is undone, the doll’s coat and dress (unfasten Velcro in back part way down) must be pulled down to remove the plastic tie wrapped around the chest.  Except for the head fasteners and coat to box tacking, the doll and fasteners could be returned to its original position. 

To get the current prices of the Rosa Parks doll use these links (In mid Sept 2019, the $30 new doll is back-ordered on Mattel’s and Walmart websites and has yet to be sold on Amazon or Target’s. People are selling them at a premium on Ebay and Amazon marketplace):  

Price check Rosa Parks doll on Ebay Price check the Rosa Parks doll on Amazon

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