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Teaching history through dolls

Indiana University Northwest will host an exhibition featuring more than 300 African-American dolls, including the controversial Topsy Turvy doll.

From Jan. 26-30 the dolls from nationally recognized collector, Jamila Jones, will be on display at the Gallery Northwest in Tamarack Hall. A reception in the gallery will be held from Noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26. At 12:30 p.m. Jones will give a lecture describing the historical overview of her collection.

On Monday, Feb. 9 visitors can view the dolls in the Library Conference Center. Jones will lecture at 11 a.m. followed by a raffle drawing at 12:30 p.m. One-dollar raffle tickets can be purchased at the Gallery Northwest. Winners must present at the drawing. The proceeds will be directed towards community outreach programming in mentoring and tutoring by student organization HYPE (Helping Young People through Education), which is sponsored by the Multi Cultural Affairs Program.

Jones has been collecting dolls for more than 40 years. Some were given to her as a child, others she collected later. Her collection features rag, bisque, hand made and the controversial Topsy Turvy style dolls. Topsy Turvy is two-sided featuring a black doll with a headscarf on one end and a white doll in an antebellum-style dress on the other. Manufactured in the early 1900s, experts disagree on whether the dolls were meant for slave children who had to display the white face in front of the master or were given as “maid dolls” to white children.

Born in Montgomery, Ala., she was 9 years old when she became a member of the Rosa Parks Youth NAACP group, formed prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and became active in the civil rights movement. She is a founder of the Pan-African Work Center, which is an independent black elementary school, and a member of the Harambee Singers.

The exhibition is sponsored by the IU Northwest Center for Cultural Discovery and Learning Diversity Programming Group and the Office of Student Affairs/Multicultural Affairs Program. For more information, please call (219) 980-6763.



Media Contact:

Kim Kintz

Nationally recognized doll collector, Jamilla Jones.
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