CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Racism, COVID-19 and other big issues of the day figure prominently in the work of many of the 25 recipients of this year’s “genius grants.”

One of those grants will go to a South Side film scholar, professor at the University of Chicago and creator of the South Side Movie Project.

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The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation‘s grants include an award of $625,000 to each recipient.

The Chicago-based foundation announced the group includes scientists, artists writers and economists and historians.

A local honoree, Professor Jacqueline Stewart, is from the city’s South Side. She also teaches at the University of Chicago where she is a Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College, Director of Arts + Public Life. Stewart is also the host of “Silent Sunday Nights” on Turner Classic Movies (TCM.)

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Stewart directs the South Side Home Movie Project. In January, Stewart joined the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures as its Chief Artistic and Programming Officer. The museum opens to the public on Thursday.

According to Stewart’s bio on the McArthur Foundation website, Stewart’s work is “ensuring that the contributions of overlooked Black filmmakers and communities of spectators have a place in the public imagination.”

She teaches American film history, specializing in African American cinema from the silent era to the present. In 2018, Stewart was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Some recipients have been recognized for their work helping those who are often overlooked. They include an activist helping former inmates regain their right to vote and a blind technology designer developing devices to help the visually impaired.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff