The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has selected “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America” by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright Publishing Corp) as the 2020 Hooks National Book Award winner.
“Franchise” investigates the untold history of the cooperation among fast-food companies, politicians, civil rights leaders, and black entrepreneurs in the years following the 1960s civil rights movement. This untold history looks at how the prevalence of fast-food restaurants in Black communities today resulted from a push by these groups for what they saw as an economical solution to racial disparities in America’s Black communities — the franchising of fast-food restaurants in black neighborhoods by Black people. “Franchise” illuminates the power of Black-owned franchises in a larger freedom struggle while also explaining how corporations such as McDonald’s have deprived genuine wealth in Black urban communities.
“Since it started in 2010, the annual book award given by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change has attracted outstanding nominations,” said Aram Goudsouzian, Bizot Family Professor of History at the University of Memphis and chair of the Hooks National Book Award Committee. “This year, the overall quality of the five finalists was exceptional. Each book made a significant contribution to civil rights history while speaking to audiences beyond academia, which is increasingly critical in our current age of racial reckoning and conflict. Marcia Chatelain’s ‘Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America’ stood out to the book award committee for the depth of its research, the quality of the writing and especially for its astute analysis.”
“Franchise” is a model for how to analyze the complex effects of capitalism in African American life.
About the Hooks National Book Award
The Hooks Institute presents its National Book Award to a non-fiction book published in the calendar year that best furthers understanding of the American civil rights movement and its legacy.
The Hooks National Book Award Committee chose “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America” from 28 books nominated for the 2020 award. Other finalists included:
- “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Crown/Penguin Random House)
- “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne & Tamara Payne (W.W. Norton & Company)
- “Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life” by Troy Saxby (University of North Carolina Press)
- “The Sword and the Shield” by Peniel Joseph (Basic Books)
The book award winner will speak at an event hosted by the Hooks Institute.
Hooks National Book Award Committee
In addition to Goudsouzian, the 2020 Hooks National Book Award Committee includes Beverly Cross, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Urban Education at the UofM; Charles McKinney, associate professor of History at Rhodes College; Ladrica Menson-Furr, UofM associate professor of English and director of African and African American Studies; Sharon Stanley, UofM professor of Political Science; and Terrence Tucker, UofM associate professor of English and coordinator of African American Literature. For more information, visit our book award page.
About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education, and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach, funding faculty research initiatives on community issues, implementing community service projects, hosting conferences, symposiums, and lectures, and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.