Seven African Americans Elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

This year 203 new fellows were elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780 the Academy is among the most prestigious honorary societies in the United States. Its membership includes more than 160 Nobel Prize winners and more than 50 winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

As in past years, the Academy did not disclose the racial makeup of the new members. But through an analysis of the new members list, JBHE has been able to determine that at least seven of the new members are black. Six of the seven new black members are academics.

Here is the list of new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences who are black:

Christopher F. Edley Jr., dean and professor of law at the Boalt Hall law school of the University of California at Berkeley
Spike Lee, filmmaker with credits such as Do the Right Thing and X, and artistic director of the graduate film program at New York University
Jessye Norman, renowned opera soloist and president of L’Orchidee Inc.
Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University
James H. Sidanius, professor of psychology and African-American studies at Harvard University
Donald Mitchell Stewart, visiting professor at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago and former president of The College Board
David R. Williams, Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health

JBHE estimates that there are now 80 blacks who are members of the Academy. They make up about 2 percent of the entire 4,000-member Academy.