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Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima (American South) (Paperback)

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In "Slave in a Box," M. M. Manring investigates why the troubling figure of Aunt Jemima has endured in American culture. The author traces the evolution of the mammy from her roots in Old South slave reality and mythology, through reinterpretations during Reconstruction and in minstrel shows and turn-of-the-century advertisements, to Aunt Jemima's symbolic role in the Civil Rights movement and her present incarnation as a 'working grandmother.' The reader learns how advertising entrepreneur James Webb Young, aided by celebrated illustrator N. C. Wyeth, skillfully tapped into nostalgic 1920s perceptions of the South as a culture of white leisure and black labor. Aunt Jemima's ready-mixed products offered middle-class housewives the next best thing to a black servant: a 'slave in a box' that conjured up romantic images of not only the food but also the social hierarchy of the plantation South.

About the Author

M.M. Manring is an independent scholar living in Columbia, Missouri.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780813918112
ISBN-10: 0813918111
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Publication Date: March 5th, 1998
Pages: 210
Language: English
Series: American South