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Rosa Washington Riles -- Aunt Jemima born in Brown County By T. Although, the character of Aunt Jemima has been often criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans, Rosa remains one of Brown County's most beloved daughters.
"Aunt Jemima" was born in 1901 as Rosa Washington near Red Oak, Brown County, Ohio. She was employed as a cook in the home of a Quaker Oats executive and went out for pancake demonstrations at her employer's request.
Other exhibits at the Jim Crow Museum show racial stereotyping that is more subtle.
For example, the image of Aunt Jemima, a fictional character whose face appears to this day on boxes of pancake mix, beams with maternal benevolence, and over the years advertisers have given her image a makeover, lightening her skin and eliminating the bandana that she used to wear.
These objects, with racist representations, both reflected and shaped attitudes towards African Americans.
She was played by actual women including, Brown County, Ohio native Rose Washington Parks,1901-1969, during the 1950s.
This story was published 01/16/2001 in the Ledger Independent in Maysville, Ky. Rosa Washington Riles, better known as "Aunt Jemima" was one of Brown County's most noted but least known natives.
"Ten Little Indians" was originally the title of a comic song written in the 1860s by Philadelphia songwriter Septimus Winner. Her story follows a plot similar to the song, as a series of murders are committed using methods that echo its lyrics.
The song made its way to England, where another songwriter named Frank Green adapted it for use in a Victorian minstrel show, giving it new lyrics and changing "Indians" to "Niggers." In each stanza of the lyrics, one of the little niggers disappears through a different cause: "One choked his little self and then there were nine. In later editions, however, the publisher decided that the original title could be construed as racially offensive and retitled it, also changing some of the wording of the story to soften the racial references.
Controversy has arisen, for example, about the contrast between news photographs of Hurricane Katrina—one with a caption that described white people " a grocery store." Other controversy followed the remarks of rapper Kanye West, when he departed from scripted comments during a Katrina fundraiser and complained that "America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. George Bush doesn't care about black people." According to the Gallup polling company, "Whites and blacks have sharply differing reactions to the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, with blacks more likely than whites to believe that racial bias was a factor in slowing the government's response, and blacks especially critical of President Bush's performance." If we want to understand what accounts for these differing perceptions, a visit to the Jim Crow Museum may help provide some of the answers.