By Micki McElya
While Aunt Jemima beamed at americans from the pancake combine field on grocery cabinets, many felt reassured via her extensive smile that she and her product have been liable. She was once everyone's mammy, the trustworthy slave who used to be content material to prepare dinner and deal with whites, regardless of how grueling the hard work, simply because she enjoyed them. This far-reaching snapshot of the nurturing black mom workouts a tenacious carry at the American mind's eye. Micki McElya examines why we grasp to mammy. She argues that the determine of the dependable slave has performed a robust function in glossy American politics and tradition. Loving, hating, pitying, or pining for mammy turned a fashion for american citizens to make feel of transferring monetary, social, and racial realities. Assertions of black people's contentment with servitude alleviated white fears whereas reinforcing racial hierarchy. African American resistance to this concept was once different yet frequently positioned new constraints on black ladies. McElya's tales of devoted slaves divulge the ability and succeed in of the parable, not just in renowned advertisements, motion pictures, and literature in regards to the South, but in addition in nationwide monument proposals, baby custody situations, white women's minstrelsy, New Negro activism, anti-lynching campaigns, and the civil rights flow. the colour line and the imaginative and prescient of interracial motherly affection that helped preserve it have continued into the twenty-first century. If we're to reckon with the ongoing legacy of slavery within the usa, McElya argues, we needs to confront the depths of our hope for mammy and realize its complete racial implications.
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Additional info for Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America
C. Wyeth, the full-page narrative ads elaborated a picture of a lush world of antebellum plantation grandeur and loyal slaves, and promoted sectional reconciliation through capitalism. 6 In 1925 the Quaker Oats Company purchased the trademark and ﬂour recipe. When a corporate history titled Brands, Trademarks, and Good Will: The Story of the Quaker Oats Company appeared in 1967, it repeated many of these ﬁctions as facts about the trademark’s past, giving them authority as the true history of the product and its spokesperson almost seventy-ﬁve years after Green’s ﬁrst Chicago performance.
Page continues in characteristically ﬂorid style: Who may picture a mother? We may dab and dab at it, but when we have done our best we know that we have stuck on a little paint, and the eternal verity stands forth like the eternal verity of the Holy Mother, outside our conception, only to be apprehended in our highest moments, and never to be truly pictured by pen or pencil. So, no one can describe what the mammy was, and only those can apprehend her who were rocked on her generous bosom, slept on her bed, fed at her table, were directed and controlled by her, watched by her unsleeping eye, and led by her precept in the way of truth, justice and humanity.
Langhorne’s account of one black family’s supposed experience of the Great War provides a powerful counterimage to the martial experience as it was popularized by civil rights activists and black nationalists during and after the war. Black activists referred constantly to black men’s military service as exemplary of black Americans’ patriotism and civic commitment as well as of the failure of federal and local institutions to recognize them. S. interests abroad while they themselves were not protected from violence at home.
Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America by Micki McElya