On Thursday, September 14, 2017, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) hosted a reception celebrating its Thurgood Marshall Institute and the launch of the Institute’s new website.

TMI’s Director, James Cadogan: “This moment demands new focus.  New rigor. 
A new willingness to be creative.  To reflect deeply and strategize carefully.”

The Insitute  is LDF’s multidisciplinary research and advocacy center. Launched in 2015,  it complements LDF’s traditional advocacy through litigation in three capacities: research, advocacy campaigns, and organizing. TMI also houses LDF’s rich, historical archives. Through the Institute, LDF deepens its partnerships with local communities, policy makers, and academic institutions to comprehensively to advance LDF’s modern version of racial equality and justice.

Atlantic Philanthropies President Chris Oechsli, whose generous conribution helped launch
the Thurgood Marshall Institute

Guests in attendance were offered insight into LDF’s storied archives and a glimpse of the future. Items from LDF’s history were on display for guests to see. Members of LDF’s organizing team were on hand to discuss the organization’s policing reform efforts in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, North Charleston, and New York City. TMI Senior Fellow Richard Rothstein met with attendees and gave away signed copies of his latest book, The Color of Law. Chris Oechsli, President of the Atlantic Philanthropies, joined LDF’s President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill in unveiling a gift to the Thurgood Marshall Institute: photos of Nelson Mandela taken by renowned photographer Jürgen Schadeberg. The highlight of the night, though, was a photo booth where guests could take pictures sitting at the very same desk Thurgood Marshall sat at as he worked on cases including Chambers v. Florida, Smith v. Allright, and Brown v. Board of Education. 

LDF President Sherrilyn Ifill and Atlantic Philanthropies President Chris Oechsli unveil a gift to the
Thurgood Marshall Institute: photos of Nelson Mandela taken by renowned photographer Jürgen Schadeberg

Speaking to attendees, James Cadogan, the first ever Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute, said, “As we continue to fight for racial justice, we must also continue to evolve as advocates: experimenting with different approaches; recording and assessing outcomes; and adjusting our strategies as we learn. And in those efforts, TMI’s research and advocacy are—and always will be—inspired by Thurgood Marshall’s entrepreneurial and visionary example.”

TMI Senior Fellow Richard Rothstein signing copies of his book, The Color of Law

Special thanks to the Atlantic Philanthropies, whose generous support allowed LDF to launch the Institute. For more information visit www.tminstituteldf.org.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary 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.