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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This African American doll, named Chloe, belonged to Eleanor Stevens of Greenfield, Massachusetts. Manufactured dolls with porcelain faces could be purchased, but cloth dolls with painted faces like this one were made at home. Although African Americans had lived in New England since the 17th century, their numbers remained relatively small outside large cities and coastal areas. During the "Great Migration" of the early 1900s, unprecedented numbers of African Americans migrated from the economically depressed rural South to the industrial North. Cities experienced the greatest population gains, but the large influx of newcomers affected smaller cities and towns, as well. An African American doll like Chloe reveals that children recognized the presence of diverse racial and ethnic groups in this period.
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