Slave in A Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima / Edition 1

Slave in A Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima / Edition 1

by Maurice M. Manring
     
 

ISBN-10: 0813918111

ISBN-13: 9780813918112

Pub. Date: 03/01/1998

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

The figure of the mammy occupies a central place in the lore of the Old South and has long been used to ullustrate distinct social phenomena, including racial oppression and class identity. In the early twentieth century, the mammy became immortalized as Aunt Jemima, the spokesperson for a line of ready-mixed breakfast products. Although Aunt Jemima has undergone

…  See more details below

Overview

The figure of the mammy occupies a central place in the lore of the Old South and has long been used to ullustrate distinct social phenomena, including racial oppression and class identity. In the early twentieth century, the mammy became immortalized as Aunt Jemima, the spokesperson for a line of ready-mixed breakfast products. Although Aunt Jemima has undergone many makeovers over the years, she apparently has not lost her commercial appeal; her face graces more than forty food products nationwide and she still resonates in some form for millions of Americans.

In Slave in a Box, M.M. Manring addresses the vexing question of why the troubling figure of Aunt Jemima has endured in American culture. Manring traces the evolution of the mammy from her roots in the Old South slave reality and mythology, through reinterpretations during Reconstruction and in minstrel shows and turn-of-the-century advertisements, to Aunt Jemima's symbolic role in the Civil Rights movement and her present incarnation as a "working grandmother." We learn how advertising entrepreneur James Webb Young, aided by celebrated illustrator N.C. Wyeth, skillfully tapped into nostalgic 1920s perceptions of the South as a culture of white leisure and black labor. Aunt Jemima's ready-mixed products offered middle-class housewives the next best thing to a black servant: a "slave in a box" that conjured up romantic images of not only the food but also the social hierarchy of the plantation South.

The initial success of the Aunt Jemima brand, Manring reveals, was based on a variety of factors, from lingering attempts to reunite the country after the Civil War to marketing strategies around World War I. Her continued appeal in the late twentieth century is a more complex and disturbing phenomenon we may never fully understand. Manring suggests that by documenting Aunt Jemima's fascinating evolution, however, we can learn important lessons about our collective cultural identity.

University of Virginia Press

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813918112
Publisher:
University of Virginia Press
Publication date:
03/01/1998
Series:
American South Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
514,827
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.07(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1Cracking Jokes in the Confederate Supermarket1
2Someone's in the Kitchen: Mammies, Mothers, and Others18
3From Minstrel Shows to the World's Fair: The Birth of Aunt Jemima60
4They Were What They Ate: James Webb Young and the Reconstruction of American Advertising79
5The Old South, the Absent Mistress, and the Slave in a Box110
6The Secret of the Bandanna: The Mammy in Contemporary Society149
Notes185
Works Cited197
Index207

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >