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 American stereotype of 'Mammy' confronted at SRU 



February 20, 2007
Contact: K.E. Schwab


American stereotype of 'Mammy' confronted at SRU


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A special undertaking at Slippery Rock University will confront the American stereotype of "Mammy" as a white man's fantasy, a black woman's history and a country's favorite product when it presents "The Evolution of African-American Women."

            The presentation, called "Project Pride" by its originator, is set for Swope Recital Hall at 8 p.m. March 29.

            Michelle Matlock, a character actress and physical comedienne, digs deep into her own experience, imagination and American history to deliver a personal, political and entertaining expose.

            Matlock takes her characterization from the life and times of Nancy Green, the first woman hired to play the part of a "Mammy," through the minstrel show era. Her presentation covers the silver-screen Mammies to present day where Aunt Jemima is still bought and sold from her pancake-box prison. 

            History shows the "Mammy" character was imagined from slavery, minstrel shows and advertising. The Pride Project re-imagines these cultural traditions, evolving their oppressive power with daredevil humor, educated outrage and ridiculous grace, said Jace Condravy, professor of English and chair of SRU's Women's Studies Program. 

           The show is co-sponsored by a grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the Women's Studies Program, the President's Commission on the Status of Women and the President's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


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