Pepsico’s Quaker Oats announced Thursday that it would be dropping Aunt Jemima brand pancake syrup and related items from its roster of products. Along with films, Confederate statues and other aspects of American culture, Aunt Jemima is being reconsidered in the light of an increased focus on America’s issues with race in the wake of the George Floyd protests.
The Aunt Jemima Brand has a 131 year history. Quaker Oats noted in their statement that the character of Aunt Jemima in the products logo is based on a racial stereotypes. The model for the original logo was based on the image of the “Mammy” character, a compliant female black slave, and a fixture of 19th century minstrel shows. The first face of the logo in 1890 was Nancy Green, a former slave. The logo has evolved over the decades, obscuring its roots in racial imagery. However, calls for change to the logo have been made over the years.
Quaker Oats has not announced the new brand name for its line of pancake syrup and mixes but said that the new brand will be in supermarket shelves by Fall 2020. They have also pledged 5 million dollars over the next five years in order to “create meaningful ongoing support and engagement in the black community.”