Monday, August 8, 2011

Aunt Jemima

On a recent road trip through central Texas, we decided to search out Aunt Jemima's (Rosie Lee Moore) gravesite, (we read about it in a book).  Originally a resident of Texas, she worked for the Quaker Oats Company and became the last actual person to tour/represent the Aunt Jemima character for the company.  Although the characterization of Aunt Jemima has been discussed many times over the years as being a negative representation of African American women, Rosie Moore viewed the character as a positive opportunity.  There are discrepancies in Rosie's story during her association with the Quaker Oats Company, including the length of time she portrayed the iconic character; some say 17 years, but her headstone says 25 years. The gravesite was declared a historial landmark in 1988, although I didn't see any special notations/markers.

If you'd like to visit - following are (hopefully) more exact directions than what we had from our guide book:
From Hearne (which is North of College Station Texas), turn towards East on 351 (you actually have to drive through 2 blocks of a neighborhood towards the west, then make a turn towards the East.  351 is the overpass that goes through town, by the Pizza Hut).  From Hearne, travel about 4 miles (there were stretches of 351 that were under construction during our visit & turned into a dirt road - but speed limit remained 65 mph (yikes), 351 is a little twisty & hilly - I didn't drive as fast as the posted speed limit or the locals) to the community of Blackjack (truly a community since only 45 people were recorded living there in 2000), which is a point that FM 2549 & 351 intersect.  Turn towards the North on FM2549 and drive for 1.7 miles (our book said a couple of miles), and turn towards East on CR 229 (which is named Pin Oak Drive (white dirt road)).  Then a short ways down on the left you'll see the Hammond Cemetery (also called Hammond Colony African American Cemetery).  When we visited, the main gate under the sign was locked, but a gate a little further down was open.  Her grave is under some trees & now a few bushes are grown up too - but hers is not too difficult to find - walk NW from the gate (depending upon which gate you enter - more North or more West).  Someone had tied a red bandana to a bush beside the headstone. 

I've been unable to locate a picture of her, but did find one of the character found on the company's label during her time (50s & 60s). 

Aunt Jemima as seen on pancake mix box
Rosie Lee Moore's final resting place, with red bandana close by


  1. Are there any photo's of Rosie Lee Moore Hall?

    1. There weren't any photos of her at the gravesite; could be some out on the internet somewhere.

  2. May 9, 2014 Thank you for writing about the location of Aunt Jemima's grave, I was able to find it today. However, the road out of Hearne is 391 and not 351, but as you mentioned it is near the Pizza Hut and not difficult to find. Once at the cemetery the grave is easy to spot since someone has cleared away all of the brush from her grave and those near her. There was a weathered plastic bottle of syrup with a bandana tied to the handle on her headstone.