Not Your Aunt
Using the term "aunt" or "auntie" in conjunction with Black women is a tradition steeped in racist stereotypes (assuming the Black woman in question isn't actually your aunt!). Many Black women of Brown's day were referred to as either "Aunt" or "Mammy" (like Mary Ellen Pleasant) by white people, a nickname that diminished their individuality and dignity, and imposed on them an image of loyal women happy to serve, as opposed to the captive slaves they were. As a result, most older biographies of these women carry over these tags, but be sure to use their actual names (even though in the case of slaves, these were usually names given to them by their owners and not their real names at all -- but that's a whole other issue altogether!).
Bibliography: Monson, Marianne. Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women. Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 2016. Print.
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