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April 8: History Lecture by Angela Jill Cooley

Lecture title is “The Politics of Barbecue: Restaurant Desegregation & the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-3-2014

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty member Angela Jill Cooley will discuss “The Politics of Barbecue: Restaurant Desegregation & the Civil Rights Act of 1964” in a lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8 in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union South Ballroom.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is the third in the Spring Lecture Series sponsored by the Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of History.

As the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 approaches, Cooley, an assistant professor, examines the Supreme Court case that upheld Title II of this legislation, desegregating the nation’s restaurants.

Ollie’s Barbecue was a whites-only restaurant in Birmingham, Ala., that specialized in barbecue sandwiches and homemade pies. The owners, Ollie McClung Sr. and his son, made constitutional history when they argued that Congress had no right to legislate their restaurant because it was not engaged in interstate commerce.

The Supreme Court upheld the law based on the premise that a “substantial portion” of the food Ollie’s served crossed state lines. In her lecture, Cooley places the Ollie’s Barbecue case in the broader historical context of the mid-20th century by analyzing the civil rights activism that led to desegregation as well as the cultural patterns of white supremacy that encouraged the McClungs to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court.

For more information, please contact Cretia Welborn, office manager in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of History, by phone at 507-389-1618 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of History is part of the university’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

For Minnesota State Mankato events: individuals with a disability, who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, are asked to contact the Office of Accessibility Resources at 507-389-2825 (V/TTD), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTD) at least five days prior to the event.

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