The Black Doll Exhibit: A Showcase of Black Beauty Nationally and Locally

For the second year in a row, Erie County Legislator April N.M. Baskin and local collector, Lisa Jacobs Watson are teaming up to present The Black Doll Exhibit that will be featured at the downtown central library. 

The exhibit, opened Thursday February 25  to a wealth of doll lovers eager to see the various set ups and during the opening was announced to be extended beyond the original date of March 13  and will no be on view until March 27! The show  focuses on Black and Latina beauty using stunning collectible dolls as the muse to help promote representation, diversity and inclusion in todays youth. 

Although the goal is to target girls ages 5 – 12 years of age, Baskin is hopeful to attract families, doll collectors, neighborhood residents and people from all walks of life to celebrate Black History Month.  There is also an entire doll case dedicated to Afro-Latina beauty. 

“Partnering with our public library has made this event even more accessible to the public. We want to emphasize the importance of play and also of representation; young Black girls grow up to be strong Black women, and they need to know their true potential. I hope seeing these dolls and coloring images of our local leaders inspires the greatness that lies within them,” said Baskin.

The Maya Angelou Doll on View at Buffalo Public Library part of the Black Doll Exhibit – challenger photo

The Cases are spread out from the Children’s area into the main hallway of the library in safely socially distanced displays giving the viewers ample time to view the dolls up close. From dolls that represent themes from Black History,  Career Women, and Entertainment , there’s even a Little Harlem themed case !  The Afro-Latina in a massive case near the groverners room and even a case that houses the energy and spirit of millennial and black lives matter movement around the world  and renewed poet writer activist Maya Angelou… the dolls in this show are phenomenal 

Creative Manager Lisa Jacobs Watson, who has built a doll collection since the 90’s has roughly 100 dolls with more than 60 from her collection on display. “I grew up loving dolls.  Even as I outgrew them, I continued to admire their panache. Tying my dolls to Black History Month is an awesome way to show the younger generation to take pride in who you are, while playing and pretending,” said Watson.

Last year’s event, held at  the Leroy R.Coles Jr. library branch on Delavan, was centered around embracing beauty and attracted roughly 150 people.  “This year  will be a reminder to embrace the power already within ourselves.  Our mission is to present an extraordinary display of dolls that bring together our past, present and future,” added Baskin.

The activity bags with excessive coloring book for this exhibition  will be passed out throughout the run of show. Visitors should ask the reception desk in the kids area about the bags and any other questions they may have on where to locate the cases in the library. 

The Black Doll Exhibit is free event and can be viewed at the Central Library during regular open hours. Monday Through Thursday 8am -7pm , Friday and Saturday  9am -5pm closed on Sunday .

Social distancing protocols will be in place  and masks are required. For more info and hours of operation visit