Nancy Green, the Model Who Was Used on Aunt Jemima Products, Was Born a Slave

In 1888, a famous pancake mix was invented and began selling under the brand name, Aunt Jemima. The character that was used as a mascot for the brand was that of a friendly, smiling black woman. Although many believe this character was simply a stereotypical rendition of a "mammy archetype," the face on every bottle and box of "Aunt Jemima" products was that of Nancy Green.

According to USA Today, Nancy Green was born on a slave plantation in Kentucky and later moved to Chicago to serve as a prominent judge. When the original founders of Aunt Jemima began their search for an outgoing, marketable Black woman to assist in selling their products, Green seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

As the model for Aunt Jemima, Green would spend much of her later life advertising breakfast products from behind a flour barrel, whipping pancakes, and performing in front of customers from city to state. Yet, there is a lack of evidence that Green was ever paid a worthy fraction of the profit she brought the company.

Not many know the name of Nancy Green, and as of 2020, Aunt Jemima has discontinued the use of its mascot's name and image as it has been publicly recognized as derogatory and insensitive due to its connotations of a "happy-slave domesticity."