Aunt Jemima’s great-grandson furious over her removal from products
Anna Short Harrington portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1935 to 1954, and she is being erased from the brand's history.
The great-grandson of the Syracuse woman who played Aunt Jemima has slammed Quaker Oats’ decision to change its packaging after outcry that the logo is racist.
Larnell Evans Sr., 66, calls it “an injustice for me and my family” that his great-grandmother, Anna Short Harrington, who portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1935 to 1954, is being erased from the brand’s history.
“This is part of my history, sir,” said Evans, a Marine Corps veteran, tells Patch. “The racism 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.”
After 130 years, Quaker is finally changing the name of their popular pancake brand, Aunt Jemima, theGrio previously reported. Acknowledging that the brand was based on a racial stereotype, the name of the product will change and the imagery will be removed.
The company said it aims “to make progress toward racial equality” amid nationwide protests over race relations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
Quaker Oaks intends to change other stereotypical logos on brands including Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth.
Evans, however, does not co-sign with this erasure of history
“This woman served all those people, and it was after slavery. She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her job,” he said. “How do you think I feel as a Black man sitting here telling you about my family history they’re trying to erase?”
The original Aunt Jemima logo was based on a woman named Nancy Green who was a “storyteller and missionary worker.” Green was born enslaved.
Harrington was the third Aunt Jemima. She was discovered by representatives from Quaker Oats while cooking pancakes at the 1935 New York State Fair, per syracuse.com.
In 1989, the image was updated to show Aunt Jemima in pearl earrings and a newly-coiffed hairstyle. However, the name and her mammy-oriented personality remained.
Evans believes “white corporations” that profit off of the culture should pay restitution rather than “erase history like it didn’t happen.”
Harrington reportedly served up her delicious dishes for many fraternity houses at Syracuse University. She is buried in Syracuse, New York.
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