NAACP LDF 80th Anniversary

Advancing the promise of equality and justice from 1940 to the present day — and beyond.

Celebrating 80 years
as the vanguard in the battle for civil rights

On March 20, 1940, Thurgood Marshall founded the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. with a vision of an America that did not yet exist — a vision to transform this country from a chapter of state-sponsored racism to one that truly holds the promise of equality for all.

Nearly 80 years later, LDF lawyers continue to battle against voting laws that suppress African American votes, racially discriminatory barriers to employment and housing, ongoing segregation in our nation’s schools, and a criminal justice system that too harshly punishes people of color. Our policy advocates bring their expertise to Capitol Hill, while our organizers are on the ground in communities across the country supporting local efforts to transform policing, education, and more.

Every day, for the past 80 years, LDF has worked towards making Thurgood Marshall’s vision a reality.

Be inspired by our directors-counsel past and present

  • Jack Greenberg
    Bridging the Gap

    LDF’s second Director-Counsel describes LDF’s ability as an organization to “bridge the gap” among the laws that govern our society, the enforcement of these laws, and the everyday people who are impacted by these laws and practices. He highlights LDF’s focus on not only setting legal precedent, but creating substantive social impact to improve the lives of African Americans.

  • Sherrilyn Ifill
    Moving Democracy Forward

    LDF’s current President and Director-Counsel, Sherrilyn Ifill, talks about how those same everyday people alluded to by Jack Greenberg remain the focus of LDF’s work — and how their stories guide the direction of the organization. She points out that LDF remains vigilant in our efforts to move our democracy forward to a place where justice is enjoyed by all citizens.

Celebrate with us

This site is the home of our 80th anniversary celebration. We invite you to learn more about LDF's remarkable history as we ignite a new era of bold and visionary leadership in the fight for racial justice. You will also be able to find the latest information on our special anniversary events and programming and connect with us on social media.

LDF director counsel Thurgood Marshall celebrating with LDF lawyers

Share your story

How has the fight for civil rights impacted your life? What actions are you taking in your community to advance the racial justice issues that matter to you? Which current or past leaders from the civil rights movement have inspired you?

Please tell us your thoughts in commemoration of LDF’s 80-year history. We’ll share your stories on this website throughout the year, as well as at our 80th Anniversary Gala.

Email us at LDF80@naacpldf.org

Tweet using #LDF80

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history.

—President Barack Obama

LDF director counsel Sherrily Ifill marching across the Edmund Pettis bridge in Selma, AL with LDF staff

Stand with us.
Help sustain LDF’s legacy.

Let’s work together to build upon the trailblazing work of securing and advancing the rights of African Americans. With your generous donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, we can forge a truly just future for the next generation.

Donate now