Book on McDonald's and the black community wins Pulitzer

posted on 23rd July 2021

A new account of the complicated role the fast-food industry plays in African-American communities has been awarded the USA's top prize for journalism. Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, by Marcia Chatelain, is 'a portrait of race and capitalism that masterfully illustrates how the fight for civil rights has been intertwined with the fate of Black businesses.' 

The book looks at the black community as franchisees as well as customers, explains Jennifer Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times. 'This isn't just a story of exploitation or, conversely, empowerment; it's a cautionary tale about relying on the private sector to provide what the public needs, and how promises of real economic development invariably come up short. . . . Franchise is a serious work of history. . . . [Chatelain's] sense of perspective gives this important book an empathetic core as well as analytical breadth, as she draws a crucial distinction between individuals actors, who often get subjected to so much scrutiny and second-guessing, and larger systems, which rarely get subjected to enough.'

Karla Strand of Ms. Magazine calls it, 'An impeccably researched examination of McDonald's and how the franchise was once intended as a path to economic freedom in Black communities. A fascinating, overlooked perspective on a US institution.'

Receiving one of the top prizes in journalism is sure to draw more attention to the company's relationships with the black community in the USA.



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