Geechie Boy Mill grits appear on several menus across Charleston, and the rest of the country, but the company has declared it will change its name, because “they want their name to represent them without causing harm or discomfort to anyone.” The owners of the mill, Betsy and Greg Johnsman, inherited the moniker when they purchased the property in 2003. The Johnsmans are not of Gullah Geechie heritage, which caused many people to question the company’s name and the fact that the Johnsmans profited from the title of marginalized people. The Gullah Geechie community descends from the African slaves forced into labor early in the Lowcountry’s history.
“We have taken the first steps in the process to make this change. What will not change is our commitment to providing the highest quality products to our customers,” said the owners. “We appreciate all of the concern we have received recently, and we have taken it to heart. Once all the legal requirements are met and the paperwork is complete, we will announce our new name. Thank you for your patience as we make this transition.”
Many advocates against the brand took to social media to speak out, including celebrity chef Samin Nosrat. After the upswell of concern, the Johnsmans made the announcement of the change.