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Our Story

Georgia Earle was my Great-Grandmother on my Father’s side of the family. And my Father’s side of the family is deeply rooted to Tennessee. My Great-Grandmother Georgia Earle’s first husband was Thomas E. Ruffin, who was born in Covington, TN. My Great-Uncle “Bob” (Robert Glenn Ruffin) was their son, who was born in 1924. My Great-Grandmother Georgia Earle got divorced from Thomas E. Ruffin sometime after my Great-Uncle “Bob” was born. She then married Oscar Oleon Demery, my Great-Grandfather in January of 1927. My Grandmother “Grandma Kitty” was born shortly thereafter on December 13, 1928. My Great-Uncle “Paul” was born April 11, 1945, the same birthday as my Sister, whom which he loved and adored.

The thing is, we didn’t know my Great-Grandmother by Georgia Earle. Nobody knew her by that name. We all knew her by the name, “Mammy.”

The tradition and culture of Grandmothers in the South being called “Mammy” was carried down through the generations. Eventually stopping at my Great-Grandmother, “Mammy”. In the South, at least where they’re from, the name “Mammy” in terms of the Grandmother was revered. The name “Mammy” in terms of the family patriarch was one of love, adoration and respect. Growing up we loved her dearly, and her name, that name brings back so many memories full of happiness, love and joy.

The other thing is this, the word “Mammy” is also deeply rooted to our Nation’s dark past. A time when black people were simply made and looked at as caricatures of their actual selves, for white people’s service, amusement, judgment and discrimination. The word “Mammy”, as you can see, for many people can hurt and offend, and cause tremendous pain.

I’ve studied that side of my family’s history to great extent. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve heard the stories. They were white. There was no privilege. There was barely any food or clothes.

Setting out on this journey, my goal was to share that happiness, love and joy surrounding my Great-Grandmother, through Mammy’s BBQ Sauce, what she and it meant to me, with the rest of the world. My hope was that not only the name, the BBQ Sauce, it’s history and culture, would create a conversation at dinner tables around issues much like the one being discussed here. However, I was going about it completely wrong. The world doesn’t need another BBQ Sauce, it never did. I knew that all along. My hope now, through Georgia Earle’s BBQ Sauce, it’s story, which is exactly this dialogue, this conversation, and as much as my Great-Grandmother meant to me, the happiness, love and joy associated with her name, based on something as simple as an understanding through discussion, and although I will never feel the pain in which that name or word has caused, means to others, I do realize it causes pain. And when it comes to pain of this nature, I certainly don’t have the right to tell you it doesn’t, nor change your mind otherwise. I do, however, have the right and control, not to cause you pain.

I’ve decided to tackle the issue of racism and social justice head on. My hope is by using Georgia Earle’s BBQ Sauce, as a catalyst for discussion, through something as simple as opening the bottle, opening our hearts, having a discussion, we can help put an end to racism and social injustice.

Georgia Earle was my Great-Grandmother on my Father’s side of the family. And my Father’s side of the family is deeply rooted to Tennessee. My Great-Grandmother Georgia Earle’s first husband was Thomas E. Ruffin, who was born in Covington, TN. My Great-Uncle “Bob” (Robert Glenn Ruffin) was their son, who was born in 1924. My Great-Grandmother Georgia Earle got divorced from Thomas E. Ruffin sometime after my Great-Uncle “Bob” was born. She then married Oscar Oleon Demery, my Great-Grandfather in January of 1927. My Grandmother “Grandma Kitty” was born shortly thereafter on December 13, 1928. My Great-Uncle “Paul” was born April 11, 1945, the same birthday as my Sister, whom which he loved and adored.

The thing is, we didn’t know my Great-Grandmother by Georgia Earle. Nobody knew her by that name. We all knew her by the name, “Mammy.”

The tradition and culture of Grandmothers in the South being called “Mammy” was carried down through the generations. Eventually stopping at my Great-Grandmother, “Mammy.” In the South, at least where they’re from, the name “Mammy” in terms of the Grandmother was revered. The name “Mammy” in terms of the family patriarch was one of love, adoration and respect. Growing up we loved her dearly, and her name, that name brings back so many memories full of happiness, love and joy.

The other thing is this, the word “Mammy” is also deeply rooted to our Nation’s dark past. A time when black people were simply made and looked at as caricatures of their actual selves, for white people’s service, amusement, judgment and discrimination. The word “Mammy”, as you can see, for many people can hurt and offend, and cause tremendous pain.

I’ve studied that side of my family’s history to great extent. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve heard the stories. They were white. There was no privilege. There was barely any food or clothes.

Setting out on this journey, my goal was to share that happiness, love and joy surrounding my Great-Grandmother, through Mammy’s BBQ Sauce, what she and it meant to me, with the rest of the world. My hope was that not only the name, the BBQ Sauce, it’s history and culture, would create a conversation at dinner tables around issues much like the one being discussed here. However, I was going about it completely wrong. The world doesn’t need another BBQ Sauce, it never did. I knew that all along. My hope now, through Georgia Earle’s BBQ Sauce, it’s story, which is exactly this dialogue, this conversation, and as much as my Great-Grandmother meant to me, the happiness, love and joy associated with her name, based on something as simple as an understanding through discussion, and although I will never feel the pain in which that name or word has caused, means to others, I do realize it causes pain. And when it comes to pain of this nature, I certainly don’t have the right to tell you it doesn’t, nor change your mind otherwise. I do, however, have the right and control, not to cause you pain.

I’ve decided to tackle the issue of racism and social justice head on. My hope is by using Georgia Earle’s BBQ Sauce, as a catalyst for discussion, through something as simple as opening the bottle, opening our hearts, having a discussion, we can help put an end to racism and social injustice.

Share your stories of racism and social injustice.

Our hope is that through these conversations and discussions at dinner tables across America we can come to a better understanding and help end racism and social injustice.

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