365 New Orleans: Our Mammy’s

 

365 New Orleans is focused on local artists and businesses. Every single day, for one year, a new person or place will be highlighted. Follow along on Instagram: @365NewOrleans 

 

Our Mammy’s creator Gaynell Brady started this venture after researching her family genealogy. With the feeling that what the women sacrificed and did, Gaynell wanted that emphasis on how important women are in the African-American community. Not only that, but she knows the importance of learning about your history. Gaynell also stated that she is reclaiming the word “mammy.” She wanted to honor, not just her mammy, but all of our mammies. This is a dedication to the women who breastfed, provided meals to all the neighborhood kids, and just gave other a soft place to land. We will let Gaynell tell us more:

 

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 a uneducated, submissive, dark skin, overweight, and very 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.

 

Mammy 

Mammy cared for generations of planters, laborers, and enslaved Africans and African Americans.  Mammy’s courage, strength, 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 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.  

 

Why Mammy’s? 

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. 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. 

 

 

1. What products and services do you offer? 

Mammy’s provides history and genealogy lessons for families and children. I present at museums, libraries, schools, and churches. 

Through facilitated interactive history lessons, children engage, construct, and learn difficult topics such as slavery, emancipation, civil rights, and freedom.  

Participants are invited to learn about the lives of Louisiana’s Mammies. Stories are heart-felt and hands-on activities are relevant to Louisiana and American History. Some of the activities  include examining artifacts, interpreting evidence, discussing facts, and participating in various crafts.

 

2. How long have you been in business? 

January 2013

 

3. How do people find you online? 

ourmammys.com, Our Mammy’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @ourmammys

 

4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew? 

I wish people understood the importance of learning who they are. The services I provide are just the first step. I show how to do genealogy and hope to inspire the next generations of genealogists. 

 

5. Lagniappe Info. 

I hope this inspires others to start their own research journey into their family’s history. 

Mammy’s has traveled the highways providing history & genealogy engagements in communities across the South including  the Greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas,  Natchez, MS, & Dallas, TX.  

Community engagement is key to creating awareness and appreciation of African American history and genealogy.  

We travel to make sure Mammy is a part of the narrative. 

Mammy’s offers lectures, seminars, and workshops for novice and intermediate genealogy researchers looking for their African American ancestors in southeast Louisiana. 

 

To book Our Mammy’s, email Gaynell at ourmammys@gmail.com

 

 

See more from 365 New Orleans! 

 

365 New Orleans

365 New Orleans was created by New Orleans real estate agent, Leslie Heindel. To contact Leslie about buying, selling, or renting a home - please input your info. She will respond within 24 hours.