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Frank Brault | all galleries >> Challenges >> March 2011 Challenge - Faces > Aunt Jemima - A controversial logo. - Faces #22
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Aunt Jemima - A controversial logo. - Faces #22
14-MAR-2011 Frank Brault

Aunt Jemima - A controversial logo. - Faces #22


"The trademark smiling face of Aunt Jemima that adorns boxes of pancake mix and syrup has a lot of history, and controversy, behind it.

The Aunt Jemima icon was introduced in 1893. She was bright eyed, smiling, and plump, and was a representation of the "mammy" slave stereotype. The original idea for the character was created by one of the owners of the Pearl Milling Company, Chris Rutt, after watching a vaudeville show featuring a black-faced performer dressed in an apron and hankerchief singing a song called "Aunt Jemima". Slave-born Nancy Green was the original Aunt Jemima, hired by the company to be the living portrayal of the brand's trademark.

Controversy over Aunt Jemima being a negative portrayal of African-American woman led to visual changes in the character; her bandanna kerchief was removed and she was given pearl earrings. Her face was also made much younger. Aunt Jemima is still an offensive image to many people however, as she is considered a female version of Uncle Tom - a black woman who is obedient and loyal to the interests of white masters. The Quaker Oats company on the otherhand, describes Aunt Jemima as standing for 'warmth, nourishment and trust – qualities you’ll find in loving moms from diverse backgrounds who care for and want the very best for their families.' "The Fact Book

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Frankie 09-Jun-2012 16:06
I don't remember this photo of Aunt Jemima. I remember Aunt Jemima grits with a lady with a cloth wrapped around her head. I grew up on those grits !!
Jean D01-Apr-2011 03:18
Thanks for sharing this controversial information, Frank.
Brett Corbin26-Mar-2011 06:51
I grew up on this.
susan hiatt26-Mar-2011 02:53
Guest 26-Mar-2011 02:34
I think I have a cook book with this beautiful picture on it, I will share if I do.
Thanks Frank for bringing back to memory.....Your galleries are great.
Marielou Dhumez25-Mar-2011 22:32
Well done and told !
borisalex25-Mar-2011 07:37
Good story and interesting social study!
Cindi Smith25-Mar-2011 01:30
There was a lady out at one of the festivals here that dressed up like her and she was African-American. She said that she was proud of it because she was the first African American presented with a product. the syrup!
j>a>e>17 :):):)25-Mar-2011 01:09
aunt jemima WILLL AWEways hold s peciALLL place in MY MIXED MUTTT & RACE SOUL... the POLITICAL (IN)CORRECT IMBECILES USE LABELS TO SEPARATE!!!! illluminates why WE ARE ALL ONE HUMAN RACE!!!! DNA scientists working with national geogrpahic are doing an ongoing study on ancestral dna & have already proven that EACH HUMANS ORIGINATES in mother africa.... lost religions & lost governments ACROSS THE GLOBE continue to divide... anywhooo, my soap box TIME IS UP LOL :):):):) & i LOVE YOU AUNT JEMIMA WHO ILLLUMINATES "WARMTH, NOURISHMENT, & TRUST" & my QUAKER POWER GROWS HERE!!!! :):):):)
larose forest photos24-Mar-2011 21:49
That is a really interesting piece of text! I had heard, vaguely, that the Aunt Jemima image became controversial over time, but didn't know the background.
Janice Dunn24-Mar-2011 18:45
Yes, I can understand that this branding has been very contraversial over the years... But they can never make everybody happy...