“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a press release. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations.”
For many years the company faced criticism and pressure to change the logo, especially from the black community, who continued to view it as a painful symbol of slavery and Jim Crow.
In the announcement, Quaker said it would donate $5 million over five years to “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”
Numerous relics of slavery and the Civil War, like Confederate statues, battle flags, and even slave auction blocks, have been defaced and toppled by protesters around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In an even wider cultural shift, many large American companies have begun making public statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and some, like Quaker, are abandoning symbols and business practices seen as insensitive to people of color.
Two other popular consumer products, Uncle Ben’s rice and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, followed suit late Wednesday, announcing they too would be phasing out their longtime brand logos.
— This is a developing story. Please come back to AJC.com for the latest updates.