In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Quaker Oats stated in 2020 that it would be abandoning its “Aunt Jemima” brand.
However, just one day after the announcement, a great-grandson of “Aunt Jemima” demonstrated the choice, claiming that the family believes the move will only serve to erase black history and pain.
This is an injustice for her family and herself, Larnell Evans Sr., a Marine Corps veteran, remarked that this is part of her history. He then accused the firm of attempting to abolish slavery after benefiting from it for years.
The racism they speak of, using pictures of slavery, is from the other side—white people. This firm makes money off photos of their servitude. And their solution is to obliterate their great-grandmother’s history. A black woman… It hurts.
Quaker Oats stated that the brand, whose emblem depicts a once enslaved black woman called Nancy Green, will be phased out permanently. According to accounts, Quakers identified Green as a storyteller, cook, and missionary worker, yet she was born under slavery.
Green was engaged to serve pancakes at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, marking the first usage of the “Aunt Jemima” brand name. Following her death in 1923, Anna Short Harrington, whom Larnell Evans Sr. claims was his great-grandmother, took over the role in 1935, after a Quaker Oats representative saw her serving pancakes at the New York State Fair and decided to make her “Aunt Jemima.”
She worked for Quaker Oats for 20 years, Evans said. She toured the United States and Canada as Aunt Jemima, preparing pancakes for them. Evans added that this woman served all those individuals after slavery. She was employed as Aunt Jemima. That was her responsibility. What do you think she feels like as a black man sitting here telling someone about her family history that they’re attempting to wipe away?
Evans is upset that Quaker Oats is planning to abandon the brand after profiting off a racial stereotype before just moving on when it became convenient.
How many white people were raised watching Aunt Jemima at breakfast every morning? How many white firms made all the money and gave them nothing? Evans said. Are they just going to erase history and pretend it never happened? Are they going to offer them nothing? What gives them authority? she questioned.
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