Meet jazz singer turned Aunt Jemima portrayer Maxine Johnson Jackson. Born and raised in Gibson City, Maxine Johnson followed her inner voice to Chicago as a young woman. There she found the Chicago Jazz scene welcomed her charming voice as a performer. Maxine met and married fellow musician Franz Jackson, composer and instrumentalist. In the late 1930’s and 1940’s, they performed in New York and Europe for the public as well as for the U.S. troops during World War II. A Decca recording of Maxine singing Summer Rapsody can still be found on YouTube
Stateside, she also portrayed Aunt Jemima in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Perhaps borrowing from her stage experience, she said of representing the Aunt Jemima brand, “It was up to me to make it all as glamorous as possible.” Eventually Maxine returned to Gibson City where she cared for her widowed mother and worked as a nurse at the Gibson City Annex caring for patients in a most loving manner. Maxine is buried in Drummer Township Cemetery.
Actor: Amy Jammeh
Amy Jammeh is currently an instructor in the Center for English Language Learning (CELL) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She teaches English to international students from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. She has visited, lived and/or worked in various countries in South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Most recently, she was selected to participate in a U.S. State Department program (English Language Fellow) in Vinh, Vietnam for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to her professional commitments, Amy enjoys participating in community service activities sponsored by her local Rotary club, traveling, and spending time with family, friends, and her adorable two cats.