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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has announced the opening of applications for the Marshall Motley-Scholars Program’s (MMSP) second cohort. Launched in January 2021, LDF’s groundbreaking commitment, the MMSP, will endow the South with the next generation of civil rights lawyers trained to provide legal advocacy of unparalleled excellence. The program is named in honor of Supreme Court justice, legendary civil rights attorney, and LDF founder Thurgood Marshall, and iconic civil rights litigator and the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge, Constance Baker Motley.

“We are looking forward to continuing the growth of the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program by identifying more passionate and committed individuals to preserve and expand LDF’s legacy of pursuing racial justice in the South on behalf of Black communities,” said Jino Ray, LDF’s Director of the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program. “LDF has supported and helped develop some of this nation’s most notable civil rights lawyers and leaders who are now among the most well-respected legislators, judges, scholars and political leaders of our time.”

Applicants who are selected as Marshall-Motley Scholars will be awarded:

  • A full law school scholarship which includes tuition, room and board and incidentals.
  • Opportunities for summer internships with national and regional civil rights organizations with offices in the South and a focus on racial justice.
  • A two-year postgraduate fellowship at civil rights law organization in the South.
  • Access to special trainings sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Science.

In return, the Scholars will commit to serving as a civil rights lawyer based in the South, engaged in a law practice focused on achieving racial justice for eight years following the conclusion of their fellowship. In total, MMSP participants will commit a total of 13 years to the program.

There is no application fee and applications are due on Friday, February 11, 2022. Decisions of the selected Scholars will be announced in April 2022.


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 originally 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.