How did his face get on the box? Did he start his own company? Well, no. That's not even his face on the box. The face on the box was a man from Chicago named Frank Brown. Frank Brown was a maitre d' at a Chicago restaurant that Gordon L. Harwell frequented in the 1940's. Harwell would later go on to start the Uncle Ben's Converted Rice Company. Anyway, Harwell wanted a face that would sell rice. Black characters were very popular on food products at the turn of the 20th Century because it gave the consumer the illusion that it was straight from "Uncle" and "Aunties" kitchen (good ol' black southern cooking). So, the next time you have yourself a bowl of Uncle Ben's rice just think about that little rice farmer from around Houston that some folks called "Uncle Ben."
Source: The Museum of Public Relations