port of harlem magazine
black memorabilia show
Buried for 97 Years, the Original Aunt Jemima to Shine Again
June 04 – June 17, 2020
Praising the Past

aunt jemima

For nearly 100 years, a famous Black woman was buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in a humble area next to a red brick wall along 67th Street (in Chicago). Generations of visitors at the cemetery would come and go without ever knowing that Nancy Green lay in the same cemetery where so many prominent Blacks lie in elaborate mausoleums and graves with fancy headstones.
After watching a vaudeville show that featured a character named Aunt Jemima, the men hired Green to help sell their product.
She was the original Aunt Jemima, the proud pancake maven who flipped America at breakfast tables with her products. An icon in life, Green was a nobody in death. While marble columns and elegant obelisks sat on the graves of Chicago’s esteemed Black achievers, for 97 years, the only thing that sat on Green’s grave was a patch of grass.

For nearly a century the final resting place of an important figure in Black history resembled a pauper’s grave that was fit for the forgotten.

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