The 19th and early 20th century launched a series of World's Fairs to exhibit Western power and dominance in the world. At the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, America celebrated its independence, industrialization and consumerism.
Contributions African-Americans made to American progress since 1619 were silenced. African-Americans saw the Colombian Exposition as a slap in the face after only 25 years of freedom against more than 250 years of forced labor benefiting American progress. Stereotypical images of people of color were exhibited as "barbaric", "child-like" and so-called scientifically proven as sub-human. (1)
In a bold statement of protest, Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass published and distributed a pamphlet to fair-goers entitled The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the World's Columbian Exposition. The pamphlet's preface written by Ida B. Wells was translated into three languages. The pamphlet encouraged the fair-goer to not ignore the contributions made by African-Americans to American prosperity and civilization since 1619. The pamphlet was an attempt to factually prove the many contributions made by African-Americans to the American Republic in spite of the racist ideologies being exhibited to millions of fair-goers.
These racist ideologies at the World's Fair were exhibited on a grand scale to millions of national and international fair-goers.
Indeed, it would not be too much to say that the World's Colombian Exposition was one vast anthropological revelation. Not all mankind were there, but either in persons or pictures their representatives were... representatives of living spaces in native garb and activities, photographs and drawings, books and objects connected with every phase of human life, seemed to be everywhere. (1) Throughout the fair, restaurants, state homes and commercial booths were built. At a few well-attended booths, images of the "happy" African-American southern cook on Cream of Wheat and Aunt Jemima pancake boxes invited the fair-goer to taste a viable American breakfast food product. The pancake mix called "Aunt Jemima" introduced American southern breakfast to the average national consumer. The stereotypical "happy" African-American southern cook would serve as brand ambassadors for many food products.
At the fair, Nancy Green would portray "Aunt Jemima", a headscarf wearing southern female cook. Davis Milling Company who owned the "Aunt Jemima" pancake mix employed Nancy Green to introduce the pancake mix to fair-goers. At the exhibition booth, Green served thousands of pancakes to long lines of future American and...