Historian Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D., discusses her book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright, 2020). The talk will be followed by a Q&A.
About the Speaker
Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D., is a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Previously, she was a Reach for Excellence assistant professor of honors and African American studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Her first book, South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015), is a reimagining of the mass exodus of black Southerners to the urban North from the perspective of girls and teenage women. Her latest book is Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright, 2020). She has recived numerous honors and most recently was named a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. She received her BA in journalism and religious studies from St. Ignatius College Prep at the University of Missouri-Columbia and her AM and Ph.D. in American civilization at Brown University. She is a native of Chicago, Il.
About the Book
Often blamed for the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among Black Americans, fast food restaurants like McDonald’s have long symbolized capitalism’s villainous effects on our nation’s most vulnerable communities. But how did fast food restaurants so thoroughly saturate Black neighborhoods in the first place? Franchise uncovers a surprising history of cooperation among fast food companies, Black capitalists and civil rights leaders, who—in the troubled years after King’s assassination—believed they found an economic answer to the problem of racial inequality. With the discourse of social welfare all but evaporated, federal programs under Presidents Johnson and Nixon promoted a new vision for racial justice: that the franchising of fast food restaurants, by Black citizens in their own neighborhoods, could finally improve the quality of Black life. Franchise tells a troubling success story of an industry that blossomed the very moment a freedom movement began to wither.
Image: Photo courtesy of Marcia Chatelain