Mammy character jug produced circa 1980. A Mammy is a U.S. historical stereotype depicting black women who work in a white family and nurse the family's children. The fictionalized mammy character is often visualized as a larger-sized, dark-skinned woman with a motherly personality. The origin of the mammy figure stereotype is rooted in the history of slavery in the United States, as black slave women were often tasked with domestic and childcare work in white American slaveholding households. The mammy caricature was used to create a narrative of black women being happy within slavery or within a role of servitude. The mammy stereotype associates black women with domestic roles, and it has been argued it, combined with segregation and discrimination, limited job opportunities for black women during the Jim Crow era, approximately 1877 to 1966.