Preserving history of 1st ‘Aunt Jemima’ after brand name phased out

ABC News’ Deborah Roberts reports on the family of the woman who was the first Aunt Jemima, as they fight for her legacy after the pancake mix was renamed to the Pearl Milling Company.
8:24 | 02/25/21

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Transcript for Preserving history of 1st ‘Aunt Jemima’ after brand name phased out
And now to update to a storm we brought you last August PepsiCo this -- formalize its name change to the popular pain kidney function line much the decision to phase out the brand was made last year in the midst of the so called racial reckoning in this country each but tonight family of the first woman who played on July and is worried in the push to correct nursing brawls inch Hirsch history is in danger of being erased our Deborah Roberts reports on the effort to preserve her legacy. A familiar box in kitchens all across the country is about to change for good. After or 131 years PepsiCo is re branding aunt Jemima pancake mix. Get ready for the pearl milling company mix and most celebrate the end of this imagery others not so much. We're sort of constant ago why would you do it is specific terror why would you choose that very little. Her milling the company that helped create the original self rising mixed down success only after the two white owners hired a black woman to protect and market the recipe you're biggest hope is that what they would actually jealous that they histories of the actual women who is in place mansion on. That was our whole bit they would do the right being an artist of women may be his grand successful world why are. We first brought you that untold story of one of America's hidden figures months ago revealing her unmarked Chicago grade which recently got a formal headstone. This to happen until years later RTT. Her great sorrow for hurt you excellence. Is estimates. You've probably never heard her name but Nancy greed has likely been in your kitchen. Let my mom would prepare the pancakes. That was just part of the whole experience of me. Nine in the house holiday is that you sat there and waited for the Yankees and be prepared so they need to get them you know hot off the grid all right. There on your pancake box. There is a key imam London. Always made us everybody does hangings. Can. Her face on the box and like was probably the one wave that households were in a great have some butter and syrup. You like him and Jemima perfect and gave him and Asia. The aunt Jemima recipe pioneered by Nancy Green giving rise to the American pancake. Long before she pioneer that famous mixed Nancy Greene was born into slavery in Montgomery County Kentucky. She didn't wait for. Now when her family. She is learning systems are in use our Gary. To steal social were removed or just Storey malls where people can unite states that they. Use what they had become what war. After this civil war a green moved to a divided Chicago. Becoming a strong voice at all of it Baptist Church the oldest black congregation. This church was noted for its work to shield Bell's who had escapes slavery. Who arrived here in Chicago because there were mini slave catchers and Chicago. Still pursuing people who were African descent. Sheri Williams lives in Chicago's Brownsville neighborhood and has been shining a light on Nancy Greene story for more than a decade. Most people have no idea. Who Nancy Green wise why is that do you think I can't believe because she is looked upon is the character. As as opposed to rule out a living breathing individual. Even connecting the dots for one of her descendants she actually opened. We know could literally opened the box Marcus Hayes only recently learned about his family's past. And found out. A an exciting as saying tariffs on history forged through a recipe Nancy Green first without for the family she cooked in cared more. It was so rooted in the bowlers Witten and a trio of reward they. Have a a caretaker. Who keeps us and she makes these amazing recipe. And she calls that jail. And the milling company heard about it in the new days she was more using their meal and they came in are out. Just like then. Aunt Jemima was born the big debut the world's fair at Chicago's Jackson park back in 1893. Green selling. 50000. Boxes of the now famous pancake mix. She was the surest and Shea backed Iranian. You know anybody who would look at a African American woman cooking they knew that they can trust it. And over all those years hands for aunt Jemima. Never mentioning Nancy Green. She was a businesswoman she created our own agency for what she did well as a storyteller. As a cook as a nurse. After green died in 1923. Other women became the living and Jemima symbols ambassadors hired by Quaker oats to continue the legacy. Last June in the midst of the country's racial reckoning. PepsiCo Quaker oats parent company decided it was time for aunt Jemima to go in weeks ago. Venue brand revealed Nancy green's family disappointed says no one reached out to them. What you want to say to Texaco right now it's conversation. Politics is a conversation when you move it silence only wants out of the story intro. They had changed the name to pro milling company and still somehow it acknowledged Nancy Green and others on the back of the act might that have been a solution that. Wouldn't stand on Vieri positive solution. In a house. Grady and unknowable it would be too acknowledged. You know that there were profound women who represented an odd and there are people who are concerned right now about images antiquated images these minstrel images which is why PepsiCo was thinking maybe it's time for that image to go what's your feeling about that. Then no time ever have I heard anyone in my community say that this image was one that was derogatory. So I don't know where that sent a minute is coming from. In a statement to ABC news on the name change PepsiCo sit our hope is that those who trusted and loved aunt Jemima over the years. Will continue to support the brand as pearl milling company and understand our need. To evolve. PepsiCo maintaining it is a common misperception that the brand's original image was premised on a specific person. Monday. This is about the truth a truth and a story now being told. The US story teller and now you're a star is being told again. After a decade long push Schering finally raised the money to give this TrailBlazer a proper headstone and marker. She's long deserved headstone artist mark hunt not even aware of Nancy green's past. Race. There's been a lot of people. Here's only managing a face that one now be preserved for generations. All look at. Whole idea. Cherie getting her first look at the headstone she's won so hard for. It's. Cool mom born out of America's racial reckoning in the realization of hard work still ahead. You're about to go in beauty easy greens Stalin. And celebrate what has finally become her new. You know official legacy to have this stage change happening now on just where you're about to go acknowledge her him in this land I ask. You almost feel a little. And different radio. Definitely leaves a hole in. It's she was here. Among worst in our lives we're trying. We're trying. We're sorry that it had had his way and Oakland we're trying. ABC news line I'm Jennifer Roberts. Her legacy certainly still lives on our thanks to Deborah for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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