Professor of History
University of Connecticut
The Presenting Past: Slavery, Memory, and Reckoning
In June 2020, the Quaker Oats company (a subsidiary of PepsiCo) announced that it will retire the Aunt Jemima trademark, which it has owned since 1926. Informed by the national uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the immediate reason was a widely circulating TikTok video lambasting the trademark’s racism. This presentation examines the history of the trademark from its origins in the late 1880s to its purported imminent demise to explore questions about the normalizing functions, murderous power, and resistant possibilities of visual culture.