Rev. William Barber, the 55-year-old pastor of Goldsboro’s Greenleaf Christian Church, is now one of 25 winners of the MacArthur Fellowship's 2018 Genius Grant.
The award comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 paid over five years. There is no application process, and recipients have no idea they're being considered for the grant.
To be considered for a Genius Grant, one must be a resident or citizen of the United States, not hold a government position and demonstrate creativity, a track record of success and the ability to continue being a pioneer in their field. Former Genius Grant winners include UNC graduate Nikole Hannah-Jones, choreographer Michelle Dorrance, the daughter of UNC women's soccer head coach Anson Dorrance, and playwright Lin Manuel-Miranda.
As head of the North Carolina NAACP, Barber first gained national attention starting in 2013 by spearheading the ‘Moral Monday’ movement, a series of weekly protest rallies at the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly.
Barber is the co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, a revival of the movement started by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Barber is one of the country’s best-known public advocates, fighting racism and poverty. Barber has successfully organized marches and other nonviolent acts of civil disobedience around the country.