February 9, 2021
This change maker has been serving Chicago’s Woodlawn community for 14 years
Meet Yolanda Travis, Owner/Operator of the McDonald’s restaurant at 65th Street and Stony Island Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. The restaurant was originally franchised to McDonald’s first-ever African American Owner/Operator, Herman Petty, in 1968. When Yolanda became Owner/Operator of the location in 2007, it was in desperate need of a remodel – and she saw an opportunity to celebrate Petty and the trail he blazed.
Making History: Celebrating Herman Petty
“I said, 'Well, we need to make [the restaurant] a historical site,” Yolanda said. “I wanted to bring the community together and show them and tell them about this wonderful black man, Mr. Herman Petty. There are very few, if any, Black historical sites in the city of Chicago, especially on the South side of Chicago. So, this was my opportunity to give back to the community.”
Today, Yolanda’s restaurant incorporates photographs and signage about Herman Petty and the role African American Owner/Operators have played in shaping McDonald’s. Take a look at how her restaurant came together, and hear Yolanda’s hope for the future, in the video below.