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What McDonald’s Can Tell Us About Black America

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Jun 14, 2021

Growing up as a Black kid in Chicago, Dr. Marcia Chatelain says she learned more about Black history from McDonald’s than from her fancy prep school. Now, as a professor of history and African American studies, Dr. Chatelain is exploring the role that McDonald’s has played in Black communities since its founding in the 1940s. In many places, McDonald’s has been a community hub and a pathway to business ownership for Black entrepreneurs. But it’s also been a tool for those seeking to preserve segregation. We dig into the chain’s complicated legacy. Plus, Dan and his family stop in at a very special McDonald’s on Long Island.  

Dr. Chatelain's book is Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America and her newsletter is Your Favorite Prof.

This is the second part of our two-episode series on McDonald’s. Make sure to check out last week’s episode about the couple who hacked the infamous McDonald’s ice cream machine.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

  • "Back in Kindergarten" by Henry Donato
  • "Shake and Bake" by Hayley Briasco
  • "Legend" by Erick Anderson
  • "Dreamin" by Erick Anderson
  • "Midnight Grind" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Steady" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Hang Tight" by Hayley Briasco
  • "Comin For a Change" by Stephen Sullivan

Photo courtesy of George/Flickr CC.

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