After Quaker Foods announced its rebranding, the great-grandson
of the real Aunt Jemima expressed his fury that cancel culture is
erasing her legacy.
Yesterday, we reported that Quaker Foods caved to calls to “cancel”
Aunt Jemima, and that the brand will be renamed. Now, the greatgrandson of the real Aunt Jemima, Anna Short Harrington, is
speaking out to express his anger and disappointment that her
legacy is being erased.
Great-Grandson Of “Aunt Jemima” Anna Short Harrington Speaks
“This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history,
sir,” Larnell Evans Sr. told Patch. “The =they talk about, using
images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white
people. This company profits off images of our slavery. And their
answer is to erase my great-grandmother’s history. A black female.
… It hurts.”
Former enslaved woman Nancy Green debuted the first “Aunt
Jemima” at the Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893. Green was a cook
who worked in the South Side of the city. She was hired to wear a
headscarf and an apron while serving pancakes to those visiting the
She continued to portray the character of “Aunt Jemima” until her
death in 1923. Then, Evans said his grandmother Anna Short
Harrington took her place.
Quaker Foods Uses Anna Short Harrington’s Likeness
Harrington worked as a cook for Syracuse University fraternities
where members loved her pancakes. She was discovered by a
Quaker Foods representative while serving her pancakes at the
New York State Fair in 1935.
Quaker Foods hired her immediately and used Harrington’s
likeness on products and advertising while also sending her all over
the nation to serve her pancakes dressed as “Aunt Jemima,” making
her a national celebrity in the process.
“She worked for that Quaker Oats for 20 years. She traveled all the
way around the United States and Canada making pancakes as Aunt
Jemima for them,” Evans said. “This woman served all those people,
and it was after slavery. She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her
job. … How do you think I feel as a black man sitting here telling
you about my family history they’re trying to erase?”
Evans, a 66 year-old veteran of the U.S. Marines who lives on
disability, said that Quaker Foods also used Harrington’s pancake
recipe. Her descendants tried to sue the company for $3 billion for
not paying them royalties in 2014, but they lost the case.
Evans Doubles Down
Evans said that Quaker Foods should admit that they profited off
images of slavery as well as the likenesses of Green and Harrington,
rather than erasing them from shelves completely.
Some folks are like minded and shared their thoughts:
“How many white people were raised looking at characters like
Aunt Jemima at breakfast every morning?” he said. “How many
white corporations made all them profits, and didn’t give us a
dime? I think they should have to look at it. They can’t just wipe it
out while we still suffer.”