The Surprising History of Fast Food's Rise in Black America

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A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant February 9, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The fast food industry is often called out for its harmful impact on low-income communities and communities of color -- from perpetuating food deserts to contributing to increased rates of obesity to paying low wages to workers. But there is a surprising history in fast food becoming one of the biggest generators of black wealth in America. In her new book, "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America," historian Marcia Chatelain traces the story of how the fast food industry, black entrepreneurs, civil rights leaders and the federal government all cooperated to ensure fast food was here to stay. Chatelain joins us in studio to discuss the book and how fast food "became black."


Marcia Chatelain, author, "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America"; Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Georgetown University