MASTER
Hill Center at the Old Naval HospitalWashington, DC, United States
 
 

Profs & Pints DC: Race and Fast Food

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Sunday, February 25 2024 3:00 PM 5:30 PM EST
 
ABOUT ABOUT

Profs and Pints DC presents: “Race and Fast Food,” with Marcia Chatelain, professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America.

During the height of the George Floyd protests McDonald’s released a video on social media declaring that “Black Lives Matter,” thus joining the long list of corporations that have expressed solidarity with those protesting police violence against black people.

The fast-food giant has a distinct and illuminating history in intervening in—and benefiting from—moments of racial crisis.

Come join Marcia Chatelain for a discussion of what she discovered in researching her acclaimed book, Franchise, which uncovers the hidden history of McDonald’s complex role in America’s fight against racial inequality.

Beginning with the emergence of McDonald’s in the days of residential and educational segregation, Professor Chatelain will discuss how McDonald’s was a site of civil rights protest in the days of lunch counter sit-ins and then stepped in as a solution to the unrest that followed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. The cast of characters in McDonald’s story with black America includes franchise king Ray Kroc, Congressman and activist Julian Bond, Portland’s chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and President Richard Nixon.

Professor Chatelain will take you through a cross-country journey from the first McDonald’s Drive-In on Route 66 in Southern California in 1940 to a Ferguson, Missouri McDonald’s in the summer of 2014. In tracing McDonald’s transition from a suburban fixture to a quotidian part of the urban landscape, she’ll highlight the ways that McDonald’s not only symbolizes the racial disparities in health and nutrition, but also the ways that cries for racial justice are answered by the private sector. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)

Image: A McDonald's on a city street. (Photo by Jeramey Jannene / Creative Commons.)