Dr. Reagon was awarded a MacArthur Fellows award in 1989. This is an unrestricted fellowship, awarded “to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
— from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation website
The Fellows Award is given in recognition of your accomplishments in Music and African American Culture which demonstrate your originality, dedication to creative pursuits, and capacity for self direction.
In all of her areas, Dr. Reagon’s contribution in the field of Black music and culture is unique; she (alone) has achieved the synthesis of serious, scholarly, analytical endeavor, combining it with creative songwriting, stylistic analysis of performances and creation of new performing genres, styles and programs… In each area of endeavor, she has ploughed new ground, drawing on her knowledge of Black history and cultural style, to provide perceptive analysis in galvanizing new creative productions. Thus in all honesty, it is not possible to compare Dr. Reagon with others because she has created her own field and those who follow her are far behind.”