Family of woman who portrayed Aunt Jemima upset about decision to rename brand

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FORNEY, Texas (WJW) — The family of Lillian Richard, who portrayed Aunt Jemima for the popular pancake mix, doesn’t support the renaming of the brand.

The Quaker Oats Company announced on Wednesday that the logo and name would be changed as its “origins are based on racial stereotypes.”

Vera Harris told KLTV she was shocked when she heard the announcement.

“A lot of people want it removed. We want the world to know that our cousin Lillian was one of the Aunt Jemimas and she made an honest living. We would ask that you reconsider just wiping all that away. There wasn’t a lot of jobs, especially for black women back in that time. She was discovered by Quaker Oats to be their brand person,” Harris said in an interview.

Richard worked as a goodwill ambassador for Quaker Oats for 23 years before passing away in 1956. Harris said the family is proud of her accomplishments.

“She was considered a hero in Hawkins, and we are proud of that. We do not want that history erased,” Harris said.

She told the TV outlet that the activism going on in this country has gone too far.

“I wish we would take a breath and not just get rid of everything because good or bad, it is our history. Removing that wipes away a part of me, a part of each of us. We are proud of our cousin,” she said.

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