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LDF Launches Groundbreaking Program to Create Next Generation of Civil Rights Attorneys to Dismantle Racial Injustice and Inequa

LDF Launches Groundbreaking Program to Create Next Generation of Civil Rights Attorneys to Dismantle Racial Injustice and Inequality in the South

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Jan. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) launched the groundbreaking Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP), an innovative educational and training opportunity that will produce the next generation of civil rights attorneys to serve Black communities in the South. As LDF celebrates its 80th anniversary year, the new scholarship and pipeline program builds upon its legacy of fighting for racial justice in America and producing leading advocates against racial injustice. The MMSP demonstrates LDF's ongoing commitment to the South, where the majority of its clients reside, and launches as LDF prepares to open its southern regional office in Atlanta this year.

MMSP is LDF's commitment to develop a new generation of civil rights attorneys to fight racial injustice in the South.

"For 80 years, LDF has been at the forefront of developing and supporting many of our nation's legendary civil rights lawyers and leaders. The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program is the next phase of our commitment to identify and invest in a new generation of brilliant minds who have a deep personal desire to bring about racial justice in the South," said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF's President and Director-Counsel.

"The majority of Black people in this country still live in the South and continuously face impediments to voting, education equity, and racial and economic justice. For this reason, LDF's docket and litigation practice has always been rooted principally in the South. During the 1960s, and early '70s, LDF invested in the creation of Black law firms in the South, providing fellowships and start-up costs for the law practices of some of the most celebrated civil rights lawyers in the region, including former LDF President and Director-Counsel Julius Chambers, a legend among civil rights lawyers in North Carolina. The time is ripe once again, for LDF to invest in the growth and development of civil rights lawyers in the South. With the MMSP, and the opening of our new regional office in Atlanta, LDF is deepening its longstanding presence in the South to help leverage the talent, passion, and commitment of a new cohort of civil rights attorneys dedicated to serving the majority of Black people in the country," Ifill added.

Over the next two decades, the MMSP aims to support the education and training of 50 aspiring civil rights lawyers. The program will afford participants:

  • a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board, and incidentals;
  • summer internships to begin their training as civil rights lawyers early in their law school careers;
  • a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national or regional civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South; and
  • access to special trainings sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Sciences.

In return, Scholars commit to practicing civil rights law in pursuit of racial justice in the South for at least eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship.

Named in honor of civil rights legends Thurgood Marshall — LDF's founder and the nation's first Black Supreme Court Justice — and Constance Baker Motley, former LDF attorney and the first Black woman to become a federal judge, this groundbreaking program will create pathways to leadership, self-sufficiency, and socio-economic progress, while developing individuals to become ambassadors and advocates for transformational change in Black communities.

The MMSP is made possible by a generous anonymous donor who has committed to funding a program of 50 participants, which amounts to a $40 million investment in developing a new generation of civil rights lawyers in the South.

"As a carrier of my parents' legacy, I understand the importance of preparing new generations of leaders," added Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center and daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. "As a trained and licensed lawyer and mediator, I have always been concerned about the dire need for more legal representation to battle racial injustice. I applaud LDF for its establishment of this scholarship program to prepare a new generation of leaders to help meet that need, as we all strive to create the Beloved Community."

The MMSP application deadline is February 16. Students beginning law school in the 2021 academic year are eligible to apply.

To learn more about MMSP or apply, visit: MarshallMotleyScholars.org.

Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation's first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was initially founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF's Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multidisciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ldf-launches-groundbreaking-program-to-create-next-generation-of-civil-rights-attorneys-to-dismantle-racial-injustice-and-inequality-in-the-south-301209785.html

SOURCE NAACP LDF



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