Pastor and activist William J. Barber II wins MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

On Thursday, the day the Rev. William Barber Jr. was awarded a $625,000 “ genius grant, ” Barber was hard to reach, because he was being arrested. Which is related to why the North Carolina preacher was given one of the rare MacArthur Foundation awards. Barber, 55, is one of the country’s best-known public advocates fighting racism and poverty, known for successfully organizing tens of thousands of people in marches and other nonviolent acts of civil disobedience around the country. On Thursday, as MacArthur was announcing that Barber was among 25 people “on the precipice of great discovery or a game-changing idea,” Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign was tweeting about his arrest. “I’ve just been arrested in Chicago, and I’m waiting on their process,” he said in a call to the Raleigh News & Observer. “For minimum wage, in front of McDonald’s headquarters.”


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