Yesterday, was the Remembrance for Mrs. Nancy Green (the Original Aunt Jemima) at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago, IL. Due to the pandemic, the event was live on Zoom.
Sherry Williams, founder and president of the Bronzeville Historical Society has worked nearly a decade to get a headstone for Nancy Green.
I attended the Zoom event and it was AMAZING. There was a resolution making September 5, 2020, Nancy Green Pancake Day. In attendance was The Original 64th Street Beach Drummers, Bernard Williams, Oyekunle Oyegbemi, Rev. John Smith of Olivet Baptist Church, where Green was a founding member and missionary worker, and Terina Hodges. Descendants of Aunt Jemima, were in attendance and they were sad not be able to attend the event buy was happy and overwhelmed of this special tribute to an amazing woman and in remembrance of others who portrayed Aunt Jemima such as Lillian Richard, Edith Wilson, Lou Blanchard, Anna Robinson, to name a few.
Chris L. Rutt and Charles Underwood, of Pearl Milling Company and creator of the self-rising pancake mix, hired Green to portray Aunt Jemima for her cheery disposition and homemade cooking. In 1893, Green had a booth set up at the Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. She attracted crowds to her booth with her storytelling of the South and delicious fluffy, mouth-watering pancakes. Green sold 50,000 orders for the Aunt Jemima pancake mix. She was awarded a medal, crowned “Pancake Queen,” and given a lifetime contract with the R.T. Davis Milling Company, purchased by the Quaker Oats Company.
Later yesterday afternoon, I went to Oak Woods Cemetery to view the new headstone. I was so happy that after 97 years, Nancy Green is overlooked no more. I hope that the cemetery add her name to the list of historical African African that are buried there and to keep her memory alive and also the women who came after her.
Marcus Hayes, the great, great, great nephew of Nancy Green told The Seattle Times, “Aunt Jemima is more than a character. She is Nancy Green, and this is her recipe, and her legacy must be told.”
Below is one-minute video at Oak Woods Cemetery to view Nancy Green's new headstone.
Oak Woods Cemetery is a beautiful and historic cemetery established in 1854 that covers 184 acres of four small lakes, amazing architecture and the resting place of African Americans such as journalist and anti-lynching crusader, Ida B. Wells, entrepreneur and founder of Johnson Publishing Company, John H. Johnson; former Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington; and high school basketball star, Ben Wilson.
To learn more about the Bronzeville Historical Society, go to https://bronzevillehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/