Join the Africana Studies Program for a lecture by Marcia Chatelain on Friday at noon via Zoom.
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? In Franchise: Golden Arches in Black Communities, Marcia Chatelain 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. Synthesizing years of research, Franchise tells a troubling success story of an industry that blossomed the very moment a freedom movement began to wither.
Chatelain is professor of History and African American studies at Georgetown. She teaches about women’s and girls’ history as well as Black capitalism. Franchise (Liveright Publishing Co./W.W. Norton, 2020) is her latest book. Chatelain has received awards and honors from Ford Foundation, American Association of University Women, and German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2016, Chronicle of Higher Education named her a Top Influencer in academia in recognition of her social media campaign #FergusonSyllabus, which implored educators to facilitate discussions about the crisis in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. She has held an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowship at New America, a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.