During Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Arizona on Tuesday (June 23), one speaker complained about the “cancelation” of Aunt Jemima and called the syrup brand’s trademark “the American dream.”
“Aunt Jemima was canceled. If you didn’t know, Nancy Green, the original first Aunt Jemima, she was a picture of the American dream,” student Reagan Escudé told the crowd. “She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup we love and have in our pantries today.”
“She fought for equality and now the leftist mob is trying to erase her legacy,” she continued. “And might I mention how privileged we are as a nation if our biggest is concern is a bottle of pancake syrup.”
A former slave, Green became the first African American woman to portray the syrup brand’s trademark character of “Aunt Jemima.” The fictional image is based on the slavery-era mammy archetype and the character’s name was inspired by a minstrel song called “Old Aunt Jemima,” which was primarily performed by white men in blackface. Last week, Quaker Oats stated that it would change the brand’s name and image after admitting both are “based on a racial stereotype.”
Escudé’s comments were met with backlash on social media, especially considering the murky details surrounding Green’s compensation for her work with the syrup brand. Green was allegedly offered a lifetime contract for her portrayal of the brand’s trademark. However, according to her obituary, the 89-year-old woman worked as a housekeeper until her death and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Bronzeville Historical Society Founder Sherry Williams discovered Green’s resting place in 2015 and reportedly reached out Quaker Oats for their support in giving her grave a headstone. However, the company told Williams that “Nancy Green and Aunt Jemima aren’t the same — that Aunt Jemima is a fictitious character” and declined to finance a headstone.
Additionally, in 2014, the great-grandsons of Green and another woman who portrayed Aunt Jemima, Anna S. Harrington, sued PepsiCo and accused the company of exploiting both women and cheating them out of the financial compensation they were promised. The multi-billion dollar lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.
Elsewhere in her speech, Escudé remarked on the “chaos of the Black Lives Matter movement” and claimed that “[racism] cannot be resolved by any law, protest or march.” She also praised Trump’s refusal to “apologize to the leftist mob.”
Watch a snippet from Escudé’s speech and find Twitter reactions to her statements below.
“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
Where does this woman go to school? Aunt Jemima was a fictitious character. https://t.co/hrMJnQhjfc— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) June 24, 2020
When I heard a white girl said aunt jemima was the American Dream pic.twitter.com/xXIJb9OOtt— Chelsea Thee Weed Witch (@weedwitch702) June 24, 2020
Nancy Green, who portrayed Aunt Jemima, made so little off bein' the face of maple syrup, she continued to work as a housekeeper until a few years before her death in 1923.— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) June 24, 2020
This is exactly the "American Dream" Trump has for minorities.https://t.co/6WZUcbAMuw
AuntJemima was the American dream? Imagine standing in front of ppl saying stupid shit like that. Fool please,aint nobody birthing y’all’s babies no more. These MFs love2victimize themselves by whining about losing symbols of their white supremacist culture. They’re batshit crazy https://t.co/lJKg7MKqak— Kenny BooYah! (@KwikWarren) June 24, 2020
While it’s appreciated that we’re making some changes in our country (taking down racist statues, changing Rhode Island’s name, getting rid of Aunt Jemima, etc) I feel like y’all are doing everything but holding police accountable for murdering Black ppl. Let’s start there? Boom. pic.twitter.com/wbK88tnveX— ♛ BLM ✊ ✊ ✊ ♛ (@rauhling_bizzle) June 24, 2020
Nancy Green, the model for Aunt Jemima, rests in this unmarked grave. In 1923 she was killed at age 89 when a speeding car hit her. She was buried without a headstone. Years ago, Sherry Williams reached out to Quaker Oats for their support for Green's headstone. They said no. https://t.co/kfMcbsUp6n pic.twitter.com/iIjeJQlMFZ— Leah Richier (@CallMeRichier) June 24, 2020
What a terribly uneducated perspective here.— TUCKy (@tuckerwwe) June 24, 2020
Anyone who doesn’t understand why Aunt Jemima is offensive should read about the “Mammy” and the song “Old Aunt Jemima” https://t.co/oHnpO4n4vK
The real life "Aunt Jemima" was Nancy Green, who signed a "lifetime contract" that paid virtually nothing. Green was still working as a housekeeper when she died at age 76. Not really the American dream. https://t.co/Ju8YAVlAro— Bleachy McBleachface (@MusicReviewer7) June 24, 2020
Republicans are fighting harder for Aunt Jemima than for black people... pic.twitter.com/5jqVLiamGK— dismantle white supremacy (@DaVonTooMuch) 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
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.— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) June 24, 2020
Do ANY conservatives/Trumpers know ANYTHING about the topics they whine about? https://t.co/tOejFuZo4M