The Mammy Figure Was Introduced After The Civil War Essay

1278 Words Dec 11th, 2015 6 Pages
The mammy figure was introduced after the Civil war. White southerners created the image to mend relations between black women and white men. The mammy was used to counter anti-slavery sentiments by masking the relationship as a friendly and familial one (Turner 44-45). Aunt Jemima originated as a minstrel show character portrayed by a white man in blackface and drag. Christopher Rutt, co-founder of the ready-to-make pancake mix, used Aunt Jemima to market his product to appeal to his local, southern consumers (Behnken and Smithers 23). Using a mammy figure to sell their product was a success. The image of Aunt Jemima sold the idea of comfort. Aunt Jemima pancakes are fast and easy to make, almost as if they were made using slave labor. It allowed post-civil war white families to fantasize about the life of leisure and luxury having a slave would provide.
Nancy Green was first introduced as Aunt Jemima at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She was put on display in character and advertised the pancake mix to the audience. Along with the image of Aunt Jemima was a back story. She worked on a plantation and was loyal to the South and her master. After her debut, Green travelled the country as Aunt Jemima and marketed the product to many until she died in 1923. Green, in a way, parallels Saartjie Baartmann, the hottentot venus, however instead of being highly sexualized Aunt Jemima is meant to be seen as sexually undesirable (M. Harris 35). Both Baartmann and Green were put on…

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