As a Ph.D. candidate in the history department at the University of Minnesota, I aim to contribute to historical understandings of urban and suburban racial segregation, food access, and American capitalism in the 20th century. My dissertation examines how the U.S. supermarket business reflected and contributed to the racialized unfavourability of neighborhoods of color from the 1960s through the 80s notwithstanding the history resident activism and entrepreneurship around supermarkets in predominantly Black, urban neighborhoods. Research for this project began four years ago as a part of my masters’ thesis, completed at Rutgers University-Newark in 2016. Since achieving Ph.D. candidacy in 2018, I have gone beyond my masters’ research in seeking to understand how the marketing strategies of large firms - which categorized consumers and neighborhoods by race and class - underwrote grocery-store flight from Black neighborhoods from the 1960s to the 1980s. I also look to challenge the narratives of
urban deviance reflected in conventional strategies of chain supermarkets’ growth by illuminating the ways in which African American residents responded to neglect by major retailers and investors over that time, which included opening their own supermarkets. My project thus examines how landscape of contemporary urban food provisioning was contested and shaped by racial capitalism.