Our Mammy’s shares the stories of Louisiana’s African Americans through the lens of the founder’s ancestors—what they contributed, how they survived, why it’s important—so that future generations can understand what was sacrificed and be inspired by all the ancestors have accomplished in the face of adversity.
What is a Mammy? A mammy, according to the British and Irish language, is a mother. However, prior to the 20th century in the United States, the term mammy was used to describe a female slave whose primary task was to take care of the domestic duties of the house including cleaning, cooking, and nursing her owner’s children. Like many other Jim Crow terms, the word mammy can be linked to discriminatory behaviors and racist actions.
Mammy was stereotyped as an uneducated, submissive, dark skin, overweight maternal woman. She has been portrayed in films, movies, and television sitcoms such as Gone with the Wind (1939), Aunt Jemina's Nancy Green (1893-1923), and The Help (2011). Yet, Mammy is so much more than depicted by Hollywood. She is and was a central to the development and success of the community.
In 2007, Gaynell Brady began researching her family tree. Through genealogical research, evidence revealed her family has lived in Louisiana for over 200 years. After careful analysis of her family tree she noticed there was one theme that was prevalent among all of her mammies—the desire to make each generation stronger and smarter. The inspiring stories of her mammies left her with a sense of pride, strength, and courage.
In 2013, Mammy's was created to honor the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives to take care of others. The company was named Mammy’s to reclaim the name Mammy, and to emphasize to others that a Mammy was much more than just a name. Mammy cared for generations of plantation owners, laborers, and enslaved Africans and African Americans. Mammy's strength, courage, wisdom, and tenacity is displayed on every family tree.
Mammy was strong enough to care for the children of the "planters," and had enough strength to take care of the children of her village. She wasn't just your Mammy or my Mammy. She was ours. We are all Mammy's descendants.
Every seed Mammy planted in Louisiana's soil blossoms with every presentation. Mammy's contributions and sacrifices are acknowledged, and will never be forgotten.
From 2013 to 2019, Mammy's has served over 25,000 people via free community events and programs. In 2020, Mammy's transitioned from a sole proprietorship to a L.L.C. and the organization's name was changed to Our Mammy's. "Our name changed; but, our mission remains the same." Gaynell Brady, Owner Educator
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