Vera Harris, the great-niece of the woman who portrayed “Aunt Jemima”, is speaking out amid the spokeperson’s removal from the brand.
“I understand the images that white America portrayed us years ago. They painted themselves Black and they portrayed that as us. I understand what Quaker Oats is doing because I’m Black and I don’t want a negative image promoted, however, I just don’t want her legacy lost, because if her legacy is swept under the rug and washed away, it’s as if she never was a person.”
Aunt Jemima was portrayed by multiple women over the course of history, starting with a formerly enslaved woman.
“She took the job to make an honest living to support herself, touring around at fairs, cooking demonstrations and events. When she came back home, they were proud of her and we’re still proud of her.”
‘Aunt Jemima’ syrup is now sold under the name ‘Pearl Milling Company’.