- Front End Developer
@NewsHour explores the complicated history of McDonalds in the Black community: how the fast food giant supported Black franchise owners, but was also a trap for unhealthy diets and low wages.https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/black-capitalism-and-the-lessons-from-mcdonalds-investment-in-black-neighborhoods/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour&utm_content=1627770966 …
This is the focus of Marcia Chatelain's book, "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America," winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize in history. Chatelain, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, is just the second Black woman to earn that honor.
"What McDonald's means in Black communities is distinct and special, because it's a reflection of the various places where African Americans have been historically excluded." -Marcia Chatelain
McDonald's and other fast food chains complied with local laws that excluded Blacks from their restaurants during the time of segregation. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first Black-owned McDonald's franchise was opened by Herman Petty in Chicago.
"From the vantage point of 1967, when African Americans have only had the right to be in public accommodations for three years, opening a McDonald's in a Black neighborhood is a big deal." -Marcia Chatelain
"McDonald's seized upon the moment...if they put African American franchise owners in African American communities, they could not only respond to the call for Black ownership, but they could create a new consumer base by making these investments." -Marcia Chatelain
"McDonald's was a presence in Black communities as people were organizing voting drives or thinking about ways to support the NAACP... McDonald's became part of the social fabric of Black life, even as they continued to promote products that were for everyone." -Marcia Chatelain
"But, as Chatelain sees it, this empowerment came with a price. As more restaurants opened in Black and Latino communities, fast food became a common staple of diets, and consumers were often left with few healthy choices." -Jeffrey Brown,
"When we talk about health and race and fast food...we have to take a holistic look at the quality of a person's life. And if we don't understand that fast food is sometimes the most rational and smartest choice in someone's life..." -Marcia Chatelain
"...they don't have the time or the energy for cooking and they're concerned about where their next meal is coming... We're not doing the full work of food justice without thinking of all of the factors that constrain people's choices." -Marcia Chatelain
"Black capitalism has long been a strategy to fill the gaps that are created when a racist society refuses to deliver to a group of people... Throughout the 19th and 20th century, African Americans have turned to Black capitalism to fill those critical gaps." -Marcia Chatelain
"Chatelain sees the same thing happening again now. After protests against systemic racism in 2020, companies pledged support for Black businesses and suppliers." -Jeffrey Brown
"The conclusion was more Black business, support Black creators...we return to this idea of business because the other work is just really hard to do. Black business didn't create these problems. Black business can't solve these problems." -Marcia Chatelain
"History is your greatest tool in problem-solving, that any time you find yourself stuck on how you're going to respond to a challenge, take a moment and look at the history." -Marcia Chatelain