The golli*** doll does not originate from Egypt

By: Arron Williams
April 18 2023

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The golli*** doll does not originate from Egypt


The Verdict False

The golli*** doll is a fictional character created by Florence Kate Upton in the late 1800s. It does not come from Egypt.

Claim ID a66679b9


Posts shared on Facebook show an image of a notice claiming the controversial golli*** doll originated from British-occupied Egypt in the 1900s, further stating that Egyptian children played with stuffed black dolls that were given as gifts or bought by British soldiers. It also claims the name was derived from the combination of the Arabic word “ghul” and a contraction of the phrase “Working on Government Service,” which appeared on the armbands worn by Egyptian laborers. One Facebook post carrying this claim has over 65,000 views and similar posts have been made on Twitter.

These posts have been shared following the seizure of golli*** dolls from the White Hart Inn, in Grays, by Essex Police. As reported by the BBC, the dolls were seized by police on April 4, 2023, as part of a hate crime investigation, following a member of the public being distressed after visiting the pub.

In Fact

The golli*** doll was a fictional character created by American-English author Florence Kate Upton and no evidence supports the claim that it originated from Egypt. As explained by the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, the golli*** first appeared in Upton’s book “The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls,” published in 1895. The book was popular in England and the doll quickly became a common character in children’s stories and a favorite children’s toy. However, the golli***’s appearance and character are based on racist stereotypes and perceptions. The appearance of Upton’s golli*** was based on a black minstrel doll she had as a child, and she originally spelled the character “golli***g.”

Minstrel shows, as stated by the National Museum of African History and Culture, were performed by white performers in blackface who imitated enslaved Africans on southern plantations. The shows depicted and pushed stereotypes of Black people. These stereotypical and negative traits continued to appear in later literature featuring golli*** characters, including works by popular authors such as Enid Blyton. The golli*** is a caricature that reflects and represents a demeaning and negative belief about Black people, evidenced through the word golli***, contractions of which are used as racial slurs.

The Facebook posts give no evidence that the notice displaying the claim has any credibility. Instead, the claim about Egypt is used to diminish the racially insensitive creation and history of the golli*** character.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that the golli*** originated from Egypt. It was a fictional character created by Florence Kate Upton in 1895. Therefore, this claim has been marked as false.

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