Twinkie a.k.a Last Dolls Test Dolls

Baby Twinkie dolls, one black and one white

Name: Twinkie (black and white versions)

Made by and When: Effanbee, 1968

Material: Vinyl

Marks: 14/EFFANBEE/19©68/2500 (on heads); EFFANBEE/19©68/2808 (on upper backs)

Height: 16 inches

Hair/Eyes/Mouth: The black doll has molded black hair and brown sleep eyes. The white doll has molded brown hair and blue sleep eyes. Both have drink-and-wet-doll mouths.

Clothes: Original clothes were possibly layettes; these dolls wear only a white diaper.

Other: Beginning in the late 1940s, psychologists, Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark used a series of identical dolls, except for race, dressed only in diapers to conduct their Dolls Test to determine the psychological effect of segregation on black children.

The Clarks went on to become expert witnesses in several school desegregation cases where their Dolls Test, as it was later dubbed, was used in the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas to prove racial segregation resulted in inferiority complexes in Black children.  That case ended in the landmark decision in 1954 that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional.   Formerly segregated public schools throughout the U. S. were required to desegregate and were given 20 years to do so.

Twinkie is one of the last dolls used by the Clark’s in their Dolls Test (a.k.a. Doll Test) which was also conducted for several years in their Northside Center for Child Development in New York. The last pair of dolls the Clark’s used (a pair of Twinkie dolls by Effanbee) were donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture by the Clark’s daughter, Kate Clark Harris. Those dolls can be seen here, and in the following video about the test and how it was used in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka Kansas.

Published by DeeBeeGee

Doll collector, historian, co-founder of the first e-zine devoted to collecting black dolls; author of black-doll reference books, doll blogs, and doll magazine articles.

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