Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

Flyer for Franchise Book Talk

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A Book Talk with Marcia Chatelain

Wednesday Oct. 6, 2021

1:30pm ET

Presented by the Gender+ Justice Initiative and the DC Public Library

Moderated by Mike Amezcua, Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown University

Join us in welcoming Professor Marcia Chatelain, acclaimed historian and winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in History, for a virtual discussion of her book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (WW Norton, 2020). With Franchise, Chatelain reveals the complicated role the fast-food industry plays in African-American communities, a portrait of race and capitalism that masterfully illustrates how the fight for civil rights has been intertwined with the fate of Black businesses.

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, 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. From civil rights to Ferguson, Franchise reveals the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America.

This event is free and open to all 

About the author:

Marcia Chatelain is Professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University. The author of South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (2015), Chatelain is a scholar of African American life and culture.

More information about Franchise:

Franchise’ Tracks The Rise And Role Of Fast Food In Black America – 9min interview of author on NPR

Find Franchise at the DC Public Library

Purchase Franchise – Publisher Page

Accommodation requests can be made at