Why did a voice of the civil rights movement get into the fried chicken business?

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Mahalia Jackson was a gospel singer, civil rights activist, and the maker of Glori-fried chicken. Photo credit: Flickr/CC 2.0

Mahalia Jackson was known as the “Queen of Gospel.” More than anything else, she used the sounds of the Black church as a reckoning for all of the ways American democracy failed to live up to its promises. In 1968, the singer launched Mahalia’s Fried Chicken, a franchise that grew to 135 locations. This segment — produced by Betsy Shepherd — originally aired on the Gravy podcast by Southern Foodways Alliance. Shepherd won this year’s James Beard Award for Best Audio Reporting.



Evan Kleiman