Quaker Oats’ decision to discontinue the “Aunt Jemima” brand in response to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 caused a significant uproar.
Nonetheless, a day after Quaker Oats announced the decision, a great-grandson of “Aunt Jemima” expressed his disagreement, believing that it would effectively erase black history and the struggles faced by the family.
He lamented, “This is an unfair situation for both me and my family. It’s a significant part of our history.” Veteran of the Marine Corps, Larnell Evans Sr., emphasized this perspective. He accused the company of attempting to eradicate slavery’s memory after profiting from it for an extended period.
He argued, “The racism they’re addressing, which involves using imagery from the era of slavery, is rooted in the actions of white individuals. This company has gained from depictions of our enslavement, and their solution is to erase the history of my great-grandmother, a black woman. It’s painful.”
Quaker Oats has announced the permanent discontinuation of the brand featuring a black woman, originally named Nancy Green, who was formerly enslaved. Sources state that Quaker referred to her as a “storyteller, cook, and missionary worker.”
The “Aunt Jemima” brand was initially associated with Green when she was hired to serve pancakes at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Subsequently, after a Quaker Oats representative observed Anna Short Harrington serving pancakes at the New York State Fair, they adopted the “Aunt Jemima” persona in her honor following her passing in 1923. Larnell Evans Sr. asserts that Anna Short Harrington was his great-grandmother and assumed the role in 1935.
Evans stated, “She dedicated two decades of her life to Quaker Oats, traveling extensively across the United States and Canada, embodying the role of Aunt Jemima while making pancakes for them.
This woman served countless individuals, and it was in a post-slavery era. Being Aunt Jemima was her profession. … Can you imagine how I, as a black man, feel sitting here sharing my family’s history that they are attempting to erase?”
Evans is dismayed by the fact that the partnership was able to profit from a racial stereotype and then promptly distance themselves from it when it became expedient, especially in light of Quaker Oats’ intention to remove the brand name.
He questioned, “How many white individuals grew up seeing characters like Aunt Jemima on their breakfast tables every morning? How many white corporations reaped all the profits without offering any compensation?”
Evans expressed his concern that they are simply erasing this history as if it never occurred and not providing any restitution. He asked, “What gives them the authority to do this?”
Indeed, apparently this has created a great deal of conversation. What is your situation on the issue? Kindly offer your viewpoints in the remark segment.
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