Civil and Political Rights

What is the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund?

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDEF) is the legal arm of the NAACP and, since the mid-1950s, functions independently of its parent organization. Its primary interest is in African Americans, other racial minorities, and women. The LDEF works to help these groups exercise their legal and constitutional rights, defending them against discrimination in areas such as employment, education, and housing. Civil rights groups and others who have bona fide civil rights claims are represented as well. Financial support given to the organization is used to support campaigns for prison reform, land use, and health care delivery. Those who have been influential in the organization include Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, Julius L. Chambers, and Oliver W. Hill. The LDEF won a number of notable legal cases. For example, with the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, the LDEF succeeded in overturning Plessy v. Ferguson’s doctrine of “separate but equal,” which had consequences far beyond educational arenas. Through its education arm, scholarships are given to African-American students who attend state colleges and universities. It also awards scholarships to African-American law students through its Earl Warren Legal Training Program.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy African American History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App