April is here! The birds are singing, the weather’s warming and the spring birthdays are starting. There are so many American Girl dolls we sell at Girl AGain that have birthdays this month. Like Addy, the historical doll from 1864. Her birthday is actually a very important plot point in her story. She didn’t even know when it was!
Picture your birthday. You get presents, you get cake, and your loved ones celebrate your birth and ability to be in their lives. Now imagine you’ve never had a birthday before. That is the case for Addy. When they were enslaved on a southern plantation, which was legal at that time, her family was not able to keep track of what day she was born. Instead, in freedom, Addy decided to pick her own day to celebrate her birthday.
Not knowing their birthdays was a common reality for many enslaved people. A lot of them had no way of knowing what day it was as they were not provided with anything like calendars. So when their children were born they had no way to keep track of their birthdays. Slave owners viewed the people they’d enslaved as property, not people. Even if they did know what day they were born, they did not allow them to have any sort of celebration. Once they had escaped slavery and become free, many people decided to choose what day they would celebrate their birthday, since they still didn’t know when they were actually born. It was an act of empowerment, a way they could say I am a person, and the fact that I was born matters.
When Addy escapes to freedom in Philadelphia with her mother, she knows the day she picks to be her birthday will be very special, but she is unsure at first which day to pick. What day could be important enough? Then on April ninth, she gets the news that slavery has been abolished in the United States and it is no longer legal to own a person. The time of her people being prisoners, forced to work without wages and without consent, is over. Addy knows instantly that this day is the day she wants to be her birthday.
Knowing when your birthday is, is something most of us take for granted today, but we are very privileged to be able to do so. Addy’s story reminds us that not everyone has been so lucky throughout history. Everyone deserves to have their birth be acknowledged, and everyone deserves to be proud that they were born. Proud that they are alive.
You can discover Addy, as well as the rest of the American Girl birthdays in April, at Girl AGain. We have so much in store for you to explore!
This month we are having a very special sale! 20% OFF STOREWIDE!
You can call us at 9143581460, visit us at 4 Martine Ave. Store 2B. White Plains, NY 10606, or go to www.girlagain.com to learn more about our store and mission.
By: Yes She Can trainee Mo