ATLANTIC CITY— Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s rice and Mrs. Butterworth were household products that for years troubled some and went unnoticed by others.
Speakers explored the power of stereotypes and negative images on Sunday, July 30 during the A Place for Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth panel discussion at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University as part of its Black Art Matters Series.
Moderator Raymond Tyler, who is also the Arts and Entertainment Editor for Atlantic City Focus, led the discussion both in person and live on Facebook.
To see the full FB Live discussion click the link below.
Ralph E. Hunter Sr., founder of the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey with locations in Atlantic City at the Noyes Arts Garage and in Buena Vista Township.
Hunter told the story of buying a hand-carved, life-sized Aunt Jemima that once stood in a restaurant window. To see more click link below.
Nathan Davis, III, an educator and freelance journalist who has written for various publications including The Source, hip hop magazine;
And Randi Meekins, a new collector and part owner of the Dunes Art Gallery in Brigantine.
Meekins said she began collecting, in part, because she wanted to liberate the artifacts that she finds.
"I feel like they're almost sacred relics," said Meekins. "Knowing the history of the pieces and having some idea of what they represent, I thought it was important to get them into a place that wasn't dusty antique shops."
Sylvetta Snowten, who attended the discussion in person, said she is glad to see the images of some products be removed or replaced.
"You don't want a child to think an African American image is servile when a person can be anything," Snowten said. "You don't want the images they have in their mind to only be servile images."
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