LDF is the nation’s premier legal organization dedicated to fighting for racial justice and defending the protections of civil rights for all Americans.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread, state-sponsored racial inequality. From that era to the present, LDF’s mission has always been transformative: to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.
Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. Working in four inter-related focus areas—Political Participation, Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Justice, and Education Equity— LDF seeks to:
- Achieve full civic engagement and participation in the democratic process for Black Americans and people of color.
- Diminish the role of race in the criminal justice system.
- Increase fairness and participation in all aspects of economic life for people of color.
- Afford greater access to racially integrated, high quality public education for students of color and eliminate racial disparities in education.
During the past year, which was one of the most challenging periods for civil rights in our nation’s history, LDF fought to protect the rights of Black Americans and advance racial justice. As the country’s foremost civil rights law firm for 81 years, LDF was uniquely positioned to lead the country through the recent—and ongoing—trifecta of crises. Since May 2020, LDF has elevated its leadership role in ending police brutality and shaping the narrative on public safety, addressing the growing inequalities experienced by Black communities in the wake of COVID-19, and defending our democracy against a new and dangerous wave of voter suppression laws and violent white supremacists.
Over the past year, LDF secured key victories in the courts, advanced essential legislation, informed national discourse, and provided public education.