What is a Mammy?
A mammy, as defined according to the British and Irish, is a mother. Prior to the 20th century, 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.
Mammy was stereotyped as being uneducated, submissive, dark skin, overweight, and maternal woman. Mammy 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).
Left Photo: Please Mammy. ca. 1899. Photograph. Library of Congress
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.
"Plant a seed, so the next generation can enjoy the fruit of the trees."
In 2013, Mammy's was created to honor legacy of those who sacrificed their lives to take care of others. Every seed Mammy planted in Louisiana soil blossoms in classrooms, libraries, community center, home, church, museum, and fields. Her sacrifices are acknowledged with every presentation and will never be forgotten.
Mammy cared for generations of planters, laborers, and enslaved Africans. Her courage, strength, wisdom, and tenacity is displayed on every family tree. Mammy was strong enough to care for the children of her en-slavers and had enough strength to come home and 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.
Right Photo: Burial vault containing the remains of Gaynell’s ancestral mammies. She is buried next to her mother on the plantation in Louisiana where she worked for several generations.