Author of ‘Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America’ to deliver VCU Libraries’ 2021 Black History Month Lecture

January 11, 2021

Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D., a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University and author of the new book, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” will deliver VCU Libraries’ 20th annual Black History Lecture.

Chatelain will discuss her book and participate in an audience Q&A in a virtual event at 7 p.m. Feb. 3. The event will be free and open to the public, but registration is required.

“Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America” (Liveright, 2020) tells the story of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of Black wealth in America. From the publisher:

“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 the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., 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 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.”

Chatelain is also the author of “South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration” (Duke University Press, 2015). She has received numerous honors and most recently was named a 2019 Andrew Carnegie fellow. She received her bachelor’s in journalism and religious studies from St. Ignatius College Prep at the University of Missouri-Columbia and her master’s and Ph.D. in American civilization from Brown University. She is a native of Chicago.

To register for the event, visit:

Original article published by VCU News Staff

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