During a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday hosted by the pro-Trump student group Turning Point USA, one of the speakers, Reagan Escudé, claimed that Aunt Jemima was a “picture of the American dream,” completely overlooking the fact that the real Aunt Jemima had been a slave. Specifically, Escudé remarked:
“Aunt Jemima was canceled. And if you didn’t know, Nancy Green, the original, first Aunt Jemima, she was the picture of the American dream. She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup that we love and we have in our pantries today.”
“Aunt Jemima was canceled… She was the picture of the American dream. She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup.” — A student at Trump’s event on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/jgONhiXiza
— Peter Wade ?♂️ (@brooklynmutt) June 24, 2020
However, the life of Nancy Green was anything but a dream, as the fact-checking website Snopes has explained when a rumor circulated online that Green died a millionaire:
“Aunt Jemima was created to celebrate state-of-the-art technology through a pancake mix; she did not celebrate the promise of post-Emancipation progress for African Americans. Aunt Jemima’s ‘freedom’ was negated, or revoked, in this role because of the character’s persona as a plantation slave, not a free black woman employed as a domestic.
“Green was a middle-aged woman living on the South Side of Chicago, working as a cook and housekeeper for a prominent judge. After a series of auditions, she was hired to cook and serve the new pancake recipe at the World’s Fair. Part of her act was to tell stories from her own early slave life along with plantation tales written for her by a white southern sales representative. This combination of historic and mythic plantation was designed to perpetuate the “historical amnesia necessary for confidence in the American future.” That this amnesia occurred at the expense of African American progress was clearly not an issue for the Pearl Milling Company, the inventor of Aunt Jemima.”
And Green DID NOT die a wealthy woman.
Twitter users quickly took Escudé to task and gave her a history lesson:
The woman — whose name was Nancy Green — on the face of this pancake syrup could not make enough money to live off her royalties and was a housekeeper until a few years before her death. Green was used as a prop by white men who wanted to sell self rising pancake mix. https://t.co/JEfyIkkwCB
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) June 24, 2020
Ummm…Aunt Jemima was a fictional character first created for a minstrel show by Chris Rutt, a popular racist from the late 19th Century who danced and sang in black face.
Do ANY conservatives/Trumpers know ANYTHING about the topics they whine about? https://t.co/tOejFuZo4M
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) June 24, 2020
What part of being a slave was in any dream? https://t.co/d1eJEgMDx2
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) June 24, 2020
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) June 24, 2020
They want to keep the racist stereotype of a fictional Aunt Jemima on the pancake syrup but they don’t want put real life freedom fighter Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. https://t.co/M7tRpzjMlz
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 24, 2020
In a race between racist, ignorant and dumb, this is a photo finish. https://t.co/WIoxHID8HQ
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 24, 2020
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