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You may have heard terms like “food desert” and “food apartheid,” but do you ever wonder why there are so many fast food outlets in communities of color? In a lecture about her recent book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, Marcia Chatelain examines the history of how McDonald’s pivoted from a mostly suburban brand to one that became a fixture in inner-city communities. Beginning with the fight for civil rights and continuing to the present, Dr. Chatelain looks at the complicated relationship among seemingly disparate forces: the federal government, leaders of the freedom struggle, and a fast-food giant.
Marcia Chatelain is a Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University. The author of South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015) she teaches about women’s and girls’ history, as well as black capitalism. Her latest book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright Publishing Co., 2020) examines the intricate relationship among African American politicians, civil rights organizations, communities, and the fast-food industry. An active public speaker and educational consultant, Chatelain has received awards and honors from the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. At Georgetown, she has won several teaching awards. In 2016, the 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, Missouri 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.
The Exploring Social Justice Series, a program co-sponsored by the American University Library, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center, brings to campus exemplary leaders from diverse backgrounds who have advocated for various human rights and social justice issues.