The NAACP Board of Directors established the Legal Defense Fund in 1940 specifically for tax purposes. In 1957, the DFL was completely separated from the NAACP and given its own independent board of directors and staff.  Although DFL was originally intended to operate in accordance with NAACP policy, serious disputes arose between the two organizations after 1961. These conflicts eventually led the NAACP to create its own in-house legal department, while LDF continued to operate as an independent organization and achieve significant legal victories.   The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has been fighting for justice on behalf of African Americans for 75 years. Founded in 1940 by its first chief counsel, Thurgood Marshall, who would later become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, the organization was the legal arm of the civil rights movement, fighting for justice, equality and advocacy across the country. (Although it shares part of its name with the NAACP, the DFL has been a separate organization since 1957.) President Barack Obama called the organization “the best civil rights company in American history.” Here are 10 of the many LDF cases that have changed racial justice in America over the past 75 years. In the face of fierce and often violent “massive opposition” to desegregation in public schools, LDF was forced to sue hundreds of school districts across the country to justify Brown`s promise. It was not until the DFL`s subsequent victories in cases such as Cooper v. Aaron (1958), Green v. County School Board (1968) and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971) that the Supreme Court issued warrants that ultimately required that all traces of “root and branch” desegregation be removed. Over the past decades, LDF has remained at the forefront of the ongoing struggle to ensure a quality and equitable learning opportunity for all youth in our country.
For example, LDF was the lead counsel for African-American and Latino students who intervened in litigation leading to the 2003 Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, who sanctioned race-conscious college admissions policies to preserve the educational benefits of a diverse student body. After training the first generation of civil rights lawyers during his years as dean of Howard University School of Law, Houston was appointed first special adviser to the NAACP in 1935. Often referred to as the “Moses of the civil rights movement,” Houston was the architect and chief strategist of the NAACP`s legal campaign to end racial segregation. The NAACP played a central role in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. One of the organization`s most important victories was the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education prohibiting segregation in public schools. As the legal arm of the civil rights movement, LDF has a tradition of expert legal representation before the Supreme Court and other courts across the country. The LDF`s victories laid the foundation for the civil rights that all Americans enjoy today. During the first two decades of its existence, the DFL launched a coordinated legal attack on officially enforced segregation in public schools. This campaign culminated in Brown v.
Board of Education the landmark Supreme Court decision of 1954, which has been described as “the most significant act of American government since the Emancipation Proclamation.” The court`s unanimous decision overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal” discrimination of legally sanctioned discrimination, widely known as Jim Crow. White led the most productive period of NAACP legal advocacy. In 1930, the association commissioned the Margold Report, which became the basis for the successful reversal of the distinct but identical doctrine that had governed public institutions since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In 1935, White recruited Charles H. Houston as chief consultant to the NAACP. Houston was the dean of Howard University Law School, whose strategy in cases of school segregation paved the way for his protégé, Thurgood Marshall, to settle in Brown v. in 1954. Board of Education, the decision that overturned Plessy. In September 1962, a federal court ordered the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, a twenty-eight-year-old Air Force veteran, after a sixteen-month legal battle.
Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett flouted the executive order and had Meredith physically banned from registering. President Kennedy responded by federalizing the National Guard and sending Army troops to protect Meredith. After days of white violence and riots, Meredith, escorted by federal field marshals, enlisted on October 1, 1962. Two men were killed and more than 300 injured in the riots. Having earned credits in the army and at Jackson State College, Meredith graduated the following August without incident. Founded in 1909, the NAACP, or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is the oldest and largest American civil rights organization. It was founded in New York City by white and black activists, in part in response to ongoing violence against African Americans across the country. In the early decades of the NAACP, its anti-lynching campaign was central to its agenda. During the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, the group won important legal victories, and today the NAACP has more than 2,200 branches and about half a million members worldwide. A series of early lawsuits, including a victory against a discriminatory law in Oklahoma that regulated voting by a grandfather clause (Guinn v. States, 1910), helped establish the importance of the NAACP as a lawyer. The fledgling organization also learned to harness public power through its 1915 struggle against D.W.
The Rebellious Birth of a Nation by Griffith, a film that perpetuated humiliating stereotypes about African Americans and glorified the Ku Klux Klan. Bookmark this article: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/naacp/the-civil-rights-era.html#obj0 Thurgood Marshall hired Robert L. Carter (born 1917) as a legal assistant at the Fonds Inc. in 1944 and promoted him to associate counsel in 1945. Carter is a graduate of Lincoln University and Howard Law School and earned a Master of Laws degree from Columbia University. He helped prepare briefs in the McLaurin and Sweatt cases and argued McLaurin in Oklahoma and before the Supreme Court. Carter later became Marshall`s chief adviser in Brown v. of the School Board. He recommended using social science research to prove the negative effects of racial segregation, which became a crucial factor in the Brown decision.
He also wrote the Brown case brief and presented the argument to the Supreme Court. From 1956 to 1968, he was general counsel of the NAACP. In 1972, President Nixon appointed Carter to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where he remains a judge. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s reflected the goals of the NAACP, but leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference felt that direct action was needed to achieve them. Although the NAACP has been criticized for its overly rigid work within the system and its focus on legislative and judicial solutions, the association has provided legal representation and assistance to members of other protest groups over an extended period of time. The NAACP even posted bail in the `60s for hundreds of Freedom Riders who traveled to Mississippi to register black voters and challenge Jim Crow policies. The LDF`s crusade against racial discrimination was not limited to public education. Following LDF`s litigation in the 1940s and 1960s, the Supreme Court struck down state-sanctioned segregation of public buildings, parks and recreational facilities, hospitals, and restaurants.
Many of these victories resulted from the LDF`s determined advocacy with civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless grassroots activists arrested for participating in freedom rides, demonstrations and marches to protest deep-rooted racial discrimination across the country.