Two African American Faculty Members Win the Pulitzer Prize

Marcia Chatelain, a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., won the Pulitzer Prize in history for her book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright, 2020). The prize committee stated that Chatelain’s book is “a nuanced account of the complicated role the fast-food industry plays in African American communities and a portrait of race and capitalism that masterfully illustrates how the fight for civil rights has been intertwined with the fate of Black businesses.”

A native of Chicago, Professor Chatelain also authored South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015). Before joining the faculty at Georgetown, she was a Reach for Excellence Assistant Professor of Honors and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Chatelain is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she majored in religious studies and journalism. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American civilization from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mitchell S. Jackson, an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his essay in Runner’s World about the life and death of Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man, was shot and killed in February 2020 while jogging in Georgia after being chased by men in vehicles. Arrests were made only weeks after the killing, once video pertaining to the incident was shared widely on social media.

Jackson interviewed Arbery’s friends and family remotely while quarantining in New York City. The essay, published in June last year, about four months after Arbery’s death, provides a detailed account of his life, personality, and relationships and “how running fails Black America.”

Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years (Bloomsbury, 2014) was the winner of a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. He also authored the memoir Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family (Scriber, 2020) about his experiences growing up in the Black community in Portland, Oregon. Jackson has taught at the University of Chicago since 2019 but will join the faculty at Arizona State University this fall. He holds a master of fine art degree from New York University.

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