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History Behind Face Of Aunt Jemima - East Texas Native Lillian Richard

HAWKINS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - In ongoing efforts to align with changing times, Quaker Oats announced it will drop the iconic image of Aunt Jemima from their pancake and syrup products as it acknowledges the brand's origins are based on a racial stereotype.

One of the women who portrayed Aunt Jemima is Lillian Richard, an East Texas native who helped put her town on the map.

Richard was born and raised in Hawkins, Texas. She was the face of Aunt Jemima pancakes from 1925 to 1940.

Signs into Hawkins proudly welcome visitors into the "Home of Lillian Richard 'Aunt Jemima.'" The state's historical commission declared the town the pancake capital of Texas because of her role.

Bessie Peeples is with the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce and said she believes the decision to drop the image of Aunt Jemima is wrong.

"I think they are going overboard in trying to over correct something that I don't believe was ever the intent," Peeples said.

In a statement about the decision, Quaker Oats said: "We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough."

In Hawkins, however, it's hard to find anyone who agrees with that decision.

"I don't see where she [has] anything to do with what is happening in the world today..." resident Kenneth Lemons said.

"I just don't see them buying a box without her picture on it," resident John Bowden added.

Quaker Oats said it will announce a new name for the pancake and syrup products later this year.


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