'Aunt Jemima' family files class action suit

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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2014 11:45 pm

D.W. Hunter, the great grandson of the woman whose likeness became Aunt Jemima, has filed a $2 billion class action lawsuit against Quaker Oats, PepsiCo Inc., Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire Brands Co.

The suit was filed on behalf of all of Anna Short Harrington's great grandchildren.

They allege the companies withheld information that identified Ms. Harrington as both an employee of Quaker Oats and her likeness as the character. The Chicago Tribune reports the companies did not pay their share of royalties to Ms. Harrington or her family for more than 60 years.  

According to Fox News, Aunt Jemima originally debuted in the late 1880s, but the character was not trademarked until 1937. 

The self-rising pancake mix was invented in St. Joseph in 1889. 

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • opinioncounts posted at 4:37 am on Tue, Aug 12, 2014.

    opinioncounts Posts: 11

    Why did they wait 60 years to bring a lawsuit against Quaker Oats, PepsiCo Inc., Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire Brands Co.? They claim it was her likeness? Just because she worked for Quaker Oats doesn't mean anything. It could of been the likeness of a hundred different women back then. But I can understand why the great grandchildren of this lady is sueing "money, money, money".

  • pitty posted at 6:23 am on Tue, Aug 12, 2014.

    pitty Posts: 320

    I'd like to see a picture of Anna Short Harrington at the same time that "someone" was first portrayed as Aunt Jemima.
    wiki says, The inspiration for Aunt Jemima was Billy Kersands' American-style minstrelsy/vaudeville song "Old Aunt Jemima", written in 1875. ....Witt suggests that Rutt might have witnessed a performance by the vaudeville performer Pete F. Baker, who played a character described in newspapers of that era as "Aunt Jemima". If this is correct, the original inspiration for the Aunt Jemima character was a white male in blackface. .... The R. T. Davis Milling Company hired former slave Nancy Green as a spokesperson for the Aunt Jemima pancake mix in 1890, .... and played the Jemima character from 1890 until her death on September 23, 1923. ... Anna Short Harrington began her career as Aunt Jemima in 1935, ,,, It was her picture with a bandana used on Quaker Oats products, ... Harrington continued to play the role for 14 years, and she made enough money to buy a large house and rent rooms.
    So where's the beef? Better sue Frank Zappa's estate too for a few billion since Electric Aunt Jemima was the nickname for Zappa's Standall guitar amplifier.

  • waxahatchee posted at 12:33 pm on Tue, Aug 12, 2014.

    waxahatchee Posts: 46

    They all look alike anyway, righ opinion...?

  • waxahatchee posted at 12:35 pm on Tue, Aug 12, 2014.

    waxahatchee Posts: 46

    ...and so what if it is about money? If a court finds that the family is owed more money shouldn't it be paid? That uppety black man in the White House is filling these colored folk with all kinds of crazy ideas!

  • Skew posted at 2:38 pm on Tue, Aug 12, 2014.

    Skew Posts: 82

    Come on! Lawyers need employement too.It keeps them out of the bread line and off welfare


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