NATIONAL NEWS

Aunt Jemima Retiring: Quaker Oats Acknowledges Brand’s Racist Past

Jun 17, 2020, 6:17 AM | Updated: 6:23 am
Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its or...
Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its origins are based on a racial stereotype. Bottles of Aunt Jemima syrup are displayed for sale at a ShopRite Holdings Ltd. grocery store in Stratford, Connecticut, on Aug. 3, 2011. (Paul Taggart / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Paul Taggart / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its origins are based on a racial stereotype.

“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,” the company said in a statement first obtained by NBC News.

Aunt Jemima’s appearance has evolved over time. The brand’s origin and logo is based off the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show performer. The company’s website said the logo started in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” The Aunt Jemima brand was purchased by Quaker Oats in 1926. PepsiCo bought Quaker Oats in 2001.

Portrait of Nancy Green, which was used as the first image of the Aunt Jemima brand. (Public Domain)

Portrait of Nancy Green, which was used as the first image of the Aunt Jemima brand. (Public Domain)

There have been repeated calls for the company to change the logo. In 2017, the husband of the late B. Smith called on the company to change it and said it was the epitome of “female humiliation.”

After a nationwide reckoning on race following the death of George Floyd in police custody, companies are making changes.

Pepsi hasn’t yet revealed a new logo or brand name for the breakfast items. That will debut in the fall.

NBC News also reported that Pepsi will donate $5 million over the next five years “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”

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Aunt Jemima Retiring: Quaker Oats Acknowledges Brand’s Racist Past