The museum is open to Johnson & Wales University students, staff, faculty, alumni and accompanying family members. Others are welcome to explore the extensive and growing collection of digital images of museum holdings.

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Two Black Faces: The Power of a Sales Pitch

February 1-April15, 2009


A series of advertisements in mainstream magazines in the first half of the 20th century were used to tell the stories of the long-standing sales icons, Rastus and Aunt Jemima, who have been promoting pancake mix and Cream of Wheat cereal respectively for more than 100 years. Though fictitious, each was based on a real person, and both characters appealed to consumers who would have been happy to have live-in black servants. In the case of Aunt Jemima, her image was updated a number of times. This was not without controversy, and black and white audiences have identified her as personifying a number of stereotypes: the joyous slave, the loyal servant and the natural-born cook.