Meet Addy Walker, An American Girl | National Museum of American History
Explore life during the Civil War with a self-guided museum tour, Addy's World. Addy Walker, an American Girl, is a nine-year old born into slavery who escapes . Meet Addy: An American Girl is the first book in the Addy series. It was included with the doll when purchased until the release of BeForever and could be. Addy Walker, the newest character in the American Girls Collection of dolls, accessories and books, stars in these bright historical novels. In the first, the.
Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil RightsRobin Bernstein describes the popularity of pickaninny dolls with white children in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Passionate love for a black doll was often couched in violence. White children mutilated their black dolls, gashing their throats, cutting between their legs, even hanging or burning them. Maybe it means nothing. But neither, apparently, can pickaninnies: Addy is not a pickaninny doll. She is beautifully crafted, and her story portrays her as a girl who is smart and courageous.
But she is still complicated, fraught with painful history. If a doll exists on the border between person and thing, what does it mean to own a doll that represents an enslaved child who once existed on that same border? African Americans and the Politics of Racial DestinyMichele Mitchell writes about black reformers in the early twentieth century who argued that if beautiful white dolls reinforced white superiority and minstrel dolls reinforced black inferiority, then perhaps owning beautiful black dolls could teach children racial pride.
Kenneth Clark conducting the Doll Test with a young male child, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress A few decades later, dolls played a crucial role in toppling segregation.
Mamie Clark and Dr. The Clarks asked their subjects a series of questions: Which doll do you like to play with? Which doll is a nice color? When they asked the final question—Which doll looks like you? The Clarks testified as expert witnesses during Brown v. Board of Education, presenting their results as proof that segregation damages the self-esteem of black children.
The doll test has been replicated as recently asfifty years after desegregation, and the results remain the same. In one video, a black girl, asked which doll is prettier and smarter, points quickly to the white doll. She hesitates when asked which doll looks like her; her reluctance to touch the black doll breaks my heart.
She dreams of pretty dresses. As adults, we are easily fooled because we are so anxious to be fooled. But children are very different. Children, not yet aware that it is dangerous to look too deeply at anything, look at everything, look at each other, and draw their own conclusions.
Perhaps playing with dolls like Addy and reading books about her life provides children with the language to confront that terrible, menacing weight of racism. Perhaps it is better to have language, even when language hurts. Still, I envy the privilege of not knowing.
Well, good—Beloved should give your child nightmares. Why should her son be allowed to opt out of a horrifying history just because it unsettles him? But, as Bernstein argues, childhood innocence has always been raced white. White children feel pain. Black children are barely children. A recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that subjects perceived black boys to be an average of four-and-a-half-years older than their actual age.
In some cases, a black child was perceived as an adult when he was only thirteen. Auntie Lula thinks fast and tells Addy to go fill her water bucket and take water to the field straight to Poppa and Sam.Meet Addy
She must act like it's time for afternoon Addy clings to Poppa, who is being sold. Addy grabs her bucket, praying as she fills it, and runs to the fields to search for Sam and Poppa. She doesn't notice the overseer, who blocks her path and asks her what she's doing.
Addy says she's bringing afternoon water, but the overseer snaps that it's not time for that and sends her away. Addy is forced to pick up the bucket and runs back to the kitchen. Momma and Esther are now there as Momma has been informed by Auntie Lula. Auntie Lula says she saw Master Stevens and the other man heading to the barn. Addy races out the door to try and see if there is one last chance, ignoring her mother's calls to wait. Addy gets to the field and sees a wagon; inside is Sam, gagged and bound with shackles on his hands and feet; Master Stevens—who is holding a whip—the other white man, and two more are near the wagon.
Addy reaches the wagon and begs Master Stevens not to sell Sam; he orders Addy to leave. Addy stops where she is and hears another voice telling her to go; she turns to see Poppa being chained by the overseer and hysterically flings herself at him, crying. Poppa tries to reassure Addy with his voice. Master Stevens again orders Addy to leave and hits her with the whip; Addy doesn't let go and Master Stevens finally pulls her away forcibly.
Addy falls backwards into Momma's arms—Momma had come after her—and they hold each other close, crying, as Poppa and Sam are taken away. Addy is not thinking about her work; she is still severely saddened at the loss of her father and brother.
She thinks of her own riddle: She answers her own riddle—her heart. She gets to the end of the second row and the overseer comes to check her work. Addy starts on the next row when she sees the overseer storming towards her.
She tries to run but he catches her; he holds her tight with one hand. He opens his other hand to show that it is full of live worms that Addy has missed in her previous rows.
He forces her mouth open and stuffs the worms in. Addy chokes and is told by the overseer that if she doesn't eat them that he'll get more. Addy gags, but chews up the worms. Satisfied that this will teach Addy to mind her work, the overseer shoves her away and she crumples to the ground.
Addy Walker, American Girl
That evening, when Momma comes home with Esther, Addy is curled up on her pallet covered in dirt and there is no fire in the hearth. Momma sets Esther down and prods Addy into getting up, asking what happened.
Addy sadly tells her momma what the overseer had done to her, crying. Momma begs her not to hate anyone, and gets some water to wash the tears and dirt from Addy's face. Addy asks Momma if she hates white people, and Momma says that she does not. She tells Addy that if her heart is filled with hate, there will be no room to love, and Poppa and Sam need their love. Addy protests white people must hate them, because they treat them poorly.
Momma says that not all white people hate colored people; it's just that they've done wrong for so long that they don't realize it's wrong and they are hurting people; she never wants Addy to be that kind of person.
Esther begins crying and Addy gives her Janie to keep her quiet. Momma says she needs to speak to Addy. Momma says she must speak to Addy seriously for a moment, about what she and Poppa were planning before he and Sam were sold.
Addy blurts out that she knows that she and Poppa were planning for the family to run away, revealing she was listening to them that night.
Momma says that they are still going. Addy asks if they should wait for Poppa and Sam and Momma says that they won't ever come back to the plantation, and that since the plan was to leave tomorrow night that she will stick to that plan. She never though that Master Stevens would break up the family, but after what he's done she does not feel that she can keep Addy from being sold, and she won't sit and wait any longer.
Addy reveals that she's frightened, but she wants to go to freedom. Momma directs Addy to reach under her pallet; there are two kerchiefs with clothes for a man and a boy. Momma's plan is to fill the kerchiefs with food and water gourdsand she and Addy will wear the clothes as they run away.
Not only will the clothes disguise them, it will hide their scent from the dogs tracking them. Addy says that Uncle Solomon and Aunt Lula should come to freedom—Uncle Solomon knows where the safe house is, and Momma says they are too old to come and can't run. Addy says that Esther can't run but she'll be coming too. Momma goes quiet and Addy asks her what's wrong; Momma says that Esther won't be coming with them.
Addy insists they can't leave Esther, and Momma says she'll be staying behind. It was different, when Sam and Poppa could carry her, but Momma can't carry her by herself, and Esther might cry and give them away. Addy offers to carry her and let her hold Janie, but Momma says she can't do it. It's very hard to leave Esther, but Momma is sure that she'll be safe with Auntie Lula and Uncle Solomon; she's a baby, so there is little worry of her being sold.
There is silence, and then Momma says that it will only be for a while because once the war ends they'll got get Esther and whole family will come back together. Momma tells Addy to lay down and rest, and Addy asks if they can all sleep together on the same pallet. Momma agrees, and the three of them crowd together on Addy's pallet. Addy tries to fight tears as she scoots close to Esther, but she cries anyways. Addy and Momma have dressed. Uncle Solomon has two hats—he gives the straw one to Addy's mother and a felt one to Addy.
He tries to cheer Addy up by saying the hat is magic, Addy doesn't smile, and Uncle Solomon pulls a half dime from behind Addy's ear and gives it to her, saying that freedom's got a cost. Auntie Lula hands Momma a kerchief packed with food for the trip. Momma picks up Esther and kisses her all over; Addy looks to see if Momma's crying but there are no outside tears. Addy kisses Esther as well, then gives her Janie to keep until she sees her again.
Meet Addy Walker, An American Girl
Momma hands Esther to Auntie Lula, who promises they'll take good care of Esther and be right there once they come back. Uncle Solomon tells Momma and Addy to walk through any water they come across, even puddles, to avoid leaving much of a scent; he also says to watch out for Confederate soldiers as they will bring them back to slavery. The two leave the cabin and Esther begins to cry; Addy tries to look back for a final look but her eyes are full of tears.
Addy and Momma walk through the dark forest for hours, stumbling over things. The deeper into the woods they get the more scared Addy gets, until she screams at a dark form moving near them. Momma clamps her hand over Addy's mouth and tells her she can't scream like that; it was probably just a possum or skunk. Addy feels bad as she screamed louder than Esther would Addy watches in horror as Momma sinks in the water.
Addy and momma make their way through the forest, and Addy does not cry out any more, not even when she stubs her toes. The sky starts lightening and Addy says they should stop soon. They go a little further to a cave and hide inside to sleep. When they awake, it's hot and muggy; they share some dry cornbread and water. Momma reaches into the kerchief again and takes out a cowrie shell.
The shell belonged to Poppa's grandmother, Aduke who was stolen from Africa when she was Addy's age and sold into slavery; her name was given to Addy and means "much loved". Addy asks to hold the shell, and Momma gives her one of Sam's shoelaces to string the shell on and wear as a necklace. Addy says that her great-grandma was brave to come across the water alone and she wants to be brave like her; Momma says that Addy is brave and that while Aduke's journey ended in slavery, Addy's will take her to freedom.
Addy asks if Esther will remember them all; Momma says she's not sure but she believes that Auntie Lula won't let her forget. Addy falls asleep thinking about Esther back on the plantation and think that maybe she's thinking about Addy. Once night comes, Addy and Momma leave the cave and start walking again. They make their way to the river, which they must cross. Momma sounds scared but knows they must cross it. Addy is worried; while she can swim, the water is moving swiftly and Momma can't swim at all.
They start into the water and make their way slowly across. Near the center the current starts to pull at them, dragging them sideways and away from shore. Momma fights to stay above water; suddenly a swell of water drags Momma away from Addy and she goes under. Addy fights a scream and dives under, trying to find Momma. Her first dive is unsuccessful as she tries to stay where Momma is; her second dive she lets the current take her along and gets caught by a fallen tree where Momma has been caught.
She grabs Momma and shoves her to the surface, and the two struggle to shore. When she can finally speak, Addy asks Momma if she is okay; Momma says that Addy saved her and she's a brave girl. They stumble into the woods. Momma has lost her kerchief and her hat is damaged; Addy still has her hat. She reaches around her neck to make sure she still has her shell; she does, but there is also a leech she quickly peels off.
After more hours of traveling, they come to the train tracks. They have to be careful as near the tracks there are few places to hide.
They follow the tracks until the morning, then make a shelter from dead pine trees to sleep. Addy curls up next to her mother. Momma says that she's very proud of Addy and Addy is soothed by her heartbeat. Freedom Taken Addy and Momma are awoken by a low rumbling; they creep out of the shelter to see a train coming down the tracks.
They watch it head to a curve in the tracks and then curve to the right. Addy is puzzled at first, the realizes that there is a set of tracks that she can't see and so they must be near where the tracks cross. Addy is excited that they must be near the safe house and the two run towards where the tracks cross.