The Legacy of “Aunt Jemima”: A Voice of Concern

Quaker Oats’ decision to discontinue the “Aunt Jemima” brand, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, has sparked a heated debate. However, one voice in particular stands out – Larnell Evans Sr., the great-grandson of “Aunt Jemima” herself. He strongly objects to this choice, believing that it erases the history and suffering of the Black community.

Aunt Jemima pancake mix

Evans, a Vietnam War veteran and Marine Corps member, feels that this decision is an injustice to his family and their legacy. He argues that while the company has profited from the painful images of slavery, they now seek to erase the history of his great-grandmother, a Black woman. To Evans, this is deeply hurtful.

The emblem of the “Aunt Jemima” brand depicts Nancy Green, a Black woman who was once enslaved. Quaker Oats, however, referred to her only as a “storyteller, cook, and missionary worker.” The brand name itself was first used when Green served pancakes at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. After the passing of Anna Short Harrington, a Quaker Oats representative decided to name her “Aunt Jemima” in 1935. Evans claims Harrington to be his great-grandmother.

Evans recounts how his great-grandmother dedicated 20 years of her life traveling across the United States and Canada, serving pancakes as Aunt Jemima for Quaker Oats. He asks us to consider the experience of a Black man sharing his family history that is being threatened with erasure.

What exacerbates Evans’ frustration is that the brand capitalizes on racial stereotypes and profits from them. He questions how many white individuals grew up seeing Aunt Jemima as a breakfast staple and how many white corporations benefited financially without sharing the profits. He strongly feels that history cannot simply be erased without considering the consequences and the rights of those affected.

This issue has sparked significant discussions, and it is essential to hear various perspectives. We invite you to share your opinion in the comment section below. As we navigate these conversations, it is also important to support the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing this article on Facebook.