Darla Davenport-Powell, doll maker ~ An Interview
I met Ms. Davenport-Powell at an event at the Potter’s House in Dallas. She is a force of nature that gives others encouragement. She gave me that little push that has enabled me to “go for it”. Read more about her, and be inspired.
In 1991, Darla Davenport-Powell created a doll and named her Niya in the full awareness of the influence that dolls have on African American children who play with them. Such is the toy’s significance that in the 1940s, African American sociologists Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark chose the doll when they conducted a test to determine the psychological effects of segregation on African American and white children.
Davenport-Powell joins a chorus of enterprising African American doll makers whose models of toy culture renew the spirit of childhood playtime and, more important, child advocacy. In this spirit, Davenport-Powell is a keeper of the doll making tradition as practiced by men and women throughout history: from the crude designs crafted by slave mothers to the papier-mâché dolls with the signature teardrop handmade by 19th century black doll maker Leo Moss.
When Davenport-Powell designed Niya, a dynamic multi-lingual doll, her creation made a…
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