LDF Names Two Renowned Scholars as Senior Research Fellows of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute


Richard Rothstein and Phillip Atiba Goff Join LDF’s New Research and Advocacy Hub


 The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is thrilled to announce today the selection of Richard Rothstein and Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff as Senior Fellows of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute. Launched in 2015, the Thurgood Marshall Institute is a collaborative hub within LDF, combining a multidisciplinary approach to advocacy with LDF’s traditional litigation strengths in order to advance racial justice.

As a Senior Fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute, Mr. Rothstein will conduct research on the history and effects of housing segregation and disparate transportation access, among other issues. Dr. Goff will focus on the psychology of bias in the criminal justice system.

“We are delighted to welcome this pair of scholars to serve as the Thurgood Marshall Institute’s inaugural Senior Fellows,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of LDF. “Their expertise is indisputable, and the work they will undertake at LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is both ambitious and necessary in helping us further study the history and consequences of racial inequality in America. We look forward to their contributions.”

Currently, Mr. Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, where his recent work has documented the history of state-sponsored residential segregation. In addition to his duties at the Economic Policy Institute, Mr. Rothstein is a Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1999 to 2002, he was the national education columnist for the New York Times.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be selected as a Senior Fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute,” said Mr. Rothstein. “Throughout its history, LDF has been an effective and courageous tool to remedy racial segregation and enable African Americans to enjoy the full citizenship to which they are entitled. I am hopeful that my historical research and policy writing can be useful to LDF as it continues to carry out this mission.”

An expert in race, policing, and intersectional identity, Dr. Goff was recently named the inaugural Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity at John Jay College, and is the co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity. His research explores how racial inequalities in housing, employment, education and healthcare contribute to systemic injustice in policing practices. His research also examines ways in which environmental factors can produce racially disparate outcomes.  

“I could not be more excited to join the inaugural class of Thurgood Marshall Institute Senior Fellows,” said Dr. Goff. “LDF plays a pivotal role in this nation’s struggle towards our highest ideals, and the relationships between social scientists and LDF strategists have literally written some of America’s proudest moments. I am eager to do my small part in continuing that tradition, simultaneously honoring our history and acknowledging how much further we still have to go.”

The goal of research at the Thurgood Marshall Institute is to develop and advance new models, theories, analyses, and data on racial and social justice that can constructively inform LDF’s advocates and allies, thought leaders, decision makers, and others, as well as assist LDF’s campaigns, communications, and other advocacy. The Thurgood Marshall Institute’s “Fellows Program” engages the best scholars and experts to produce cutting-edge research on pertinent civil rights issues, including issues related to African Americans and the U.S. educational and criminal justice systems, the economy, and the political process.

“We look forward to a wonderful collaboration with these two outstanding scholars,” said Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel at LDF. “Their research at LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute will help shape our strategies to combat the impact of race, deepen our understanding of racial-justice scholarship, and enhance LDF’s advocacy in the areas of police reform and economic opportunity.” 


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. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.