S5:E5 | 9.18.2020

You’re a Good Man, Brady Keys

In the 1960s, the path to Civil Rights was paved with profits — and Brady Keys’ All-Pro Chicken was the gold standard of Black capitalism.

About this Episode

After Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, Civil Rights leaders, fast food corporations, and the Nixon administration began an unlikely collaboration: to promote “Black Capitalism” in the fast food industry. The idea was this: promoting Black franchise business ownership in Black neighborhoods could improve the quality of Black life in America. Brady Keys was the king of Nixon’s Black capitalism. He received upwards of 9 million dollars in federal money to develop his fast food franchise, All-Pro Chicken, and collaborated with KFC and Burger King in ground-breaking franchise deals. Keys’ story is a case study of Black business ownership in the ‘60s, when the path to Civil Rights was paved with profits.

Read Brady Keys’ 1973 Congressional testimony on franchising opportunities for minority business owners on Google Books.

You can read the May 1974 Black Enterprise interview with Brady Keys on franchising opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in the Google Books digital edition of the magazine. A September 1988 cover story on Brady Keys in Black Enterprise is also available via Google Books.

Learn more about Dr. Chatelain’s Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America at her website, marciachatelain.com. Hardcover and digital copies of the book are available for purchase on Amazon.

About the Reporter

Marcia Chatelain is a historian of African American life and culture living in Washington, D.C. The author of “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,“ Chatelain teaches at Georgetown University, and she has appeared on many podcasts including The Waves and Undisclosed.

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