Scientists, fine artists, writers and a financial services pioneer feature among The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s 2016 class of Genius Grant Fellows.
Of the 23 fellows announced today (September 22), 11 are people of color. Those whose work directly addresses race and racism in America include:
- Human rights lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham, director of advocacy and legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, who challenged undocumented immigrants’ detention and access to legal council in various court cases
- Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, whose plays ”Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” investigate the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow
- Art historian Kellie Jones, whose curated exhibitions and scholarly work specifically highlight lesser-known Black artists
- Poet Claudia Rankine, whose book “Citizen” and other works interrogate racism’s common, subtle impacts on Black people
- Sculptor Joyce J. Scott, who uses beadwork and jewelery in pieces that comment on racism
All awardees receive a no-strings-attached $625,000 grant, distributed over five years, in recognition of both their exceptional contributions and future potential. Read the full list of winners here.