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Rosa Washington Riles -- Aunt Jemima born in Brown County By T. Although, the character of Aunt Jemima has been often criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans, Rosa remains one of Brown County's most beloved daughters."Aunt Jemima" was born in 1901 as Rosa Washington near Red Oak, Brown County, Ohio. She was employed as a cook in the home of a Quaker Oats executive and went out for pancake demonstrations at her employer's request.In the beginning of Rosa Washington's career as Aunt Jemima, the pancake mix was packaged and sold in one-pound covered cardboard cartons.
Although Aunt Jemima was a fictional character, she wasn't just a face on a box.
"Ten Little Indians" was originally the title of a comic song written in the 1860s by Philadelphia songwriter Septimus Winner. Her story follows a plot similar to the song, as a series of murders are committed using methods that echo its lyrics.
The song made its way to England, where another songwriter named Frank Green adapted it for use in a Victorian minstrel show, giving it new lyrics and changing "Indians" to "Niggers." In each stanza of the lyrics, one of the little niggers disappears through a different cause: "One choked his little self and then there were nine. In later editions, however, the publisher decided that the original title could be construed as racially offensive and retitled it, also changing some of the wording of the story to soften the racial references.
These anti-black depictions were routinely manifested in or on material objects: ashtrays, drinking glasses, banks, games, fishing lures, detergent boxes, and other everyday items.
These objects, with racist representations, both reflected and shaped attitudes towards African Americans.
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Later redesigning of the packages reduced her portrait to a silver-dollar sized medallion in the upper left corner of the side of the box, and that is exactly how it can be found on the store shelves yet today.