During World War II, the Fli-Back company employed women, both black and white, to help with production. Following the war, the company continued to hire African Americans at an equal pay rate. A rarity for the time!
Although the company continued to thrive throughout the 1950s, things took an unfortunate turn in 1963 when the company’s new president, Emory Gibson, Jr. died unexpectedly at the age of 43. The company was eventually sold in 1972.
But next time you see a paddle ball toy begging to be mastered, thank James Emory Gibson and North Carolina’s own Fli-Back toy company!
*To see some of Fli-Back’s toys, visit our exhibit, Toy Boom, a toy exhibit focusing on Baby Boomer toys.