Quaker Oaks has announced they are retiring the Aunt Jemima brand and logo, citing that the brand was based on a racial stereotype. Anna Short Harrington, born in 1897 in Marlboro County, South Carolina, began her career as Aunt Jemima in 1935. She had to support her five children, and she moved with her family to Syracuse, New York, where she cooked for a living. Quaker Oats discovered her when she was cooking at a fair.
“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” Quaker Oats, which is owned by Pepsi, said in a statement.
CNN Business reports the brand was derived from the song “Old Aunt Jemima,” which was based on a minstrel show performer and was sang by slaves. The origin story placed on their website states the logo and brand is based on a storyteller, cook, and missionary worker named Nancy Green, but omitted that she was born into slavery.
The new logo and brand name for their breakfast items will come in the fall. Aunt Jemima was purchased by Quaker Oats in 1926, followed by Pepsi buying Quaker in 2001.
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