The Disputation Revealed
Larnell Evans Sr., the great-grandson of the original Aunt Jemima, has expressed his disapproval of Quaker Foods’ recent move to rename Aunt Jemima. Evans expressed his rage and disappointment at the eradication of his family’s history and Aunt Jemima’s legacy in an interview with Patch.
Evans is terribly sorry that Aunt Jemima’s actual ancestry is being ignored by mainstream culture, which blames the use of images from slavery on racism. He highlights that Nancy Green, a black actress, is credited with creating Aunt Jemima in the first place. Green played the role for the first time in 1893. Wearing an apron and headscarf, Green, a former slave, served pancakes to visitors to the Chicago World’s Fair. She remained in this capacity until her death in 1923, at which point Evans’ grandmother Anna Short Harrington assumed responsibility.
Honoring Anna Short Harrington
When Evans talks about his grandmother Aunt Jemima’s accomplishments, he does it with pride. Anna Short Harrington, a former Syracuse University chef, became well-known for her mouthwatering pancakes. A Quaker Foods employee first came across her and her handmade pancakes at the 1935 New York State Fair. The corporation hired Harrington after being impressed by her abilities and included her in their product packaging and ads. Over her twenty years with Quaker Oats, she became a household name, serving pancakes across the country.
Struggling Seeking Appreciation
Harrington’s heirs attempted, but were unsuccessful, to sue Quaker Foods in 2014 for $3 billion in unpaid royalties, despite her iconic reputation and the company’s exploitation of her image. Evans contends that Quaker Foods ought to accept the fact that they made money off of the likenesses of people like Nancy Green and Anna Short Harrington, as well as pictures of slavery, rather than trying to forget the past.
Examining the Past
Evans poses an interesting query: how many white individuals ate breakfast while watching Aunt Jemima cartoons as children? And how many white-owned companies generated significant profits with no reciprocation? Instead of just wiping out the history, he asks Quaker Foods to consider it and the misery that still exists.
Accepting the Future
Quaker Foods is steadfast in their resolve to eliminate the Aunt Jemima artwork and branding from every product by the end of the year. Even if this choice might signal the end of an era, the discussion about Aunt Jemima’s legacy and the necessity of acknowledging and making amends for historical wrongs still goes on.
Honoring Actual People
It is imperative that we keep in mind the actual people who brought Aunt Jemima to life and the effects it had on both their lives and society at large as we navigate the future. Let’s recognize their efforts and work to create a more just and inclusive society.