NAACP Legal Defense Fund Responds to Decision in Key Alabama Desegregation Case
Read a PDF of our statement here.
Late yesterday, a federal judge ruled that the city of Gardendale, Alabama, sought to intentionally discriminate against Black students in seeking to separate its schools from the school district in surrounding Jefferson County. However, the judge did rule that Gardendale can form its own school district in three years if it can prove its ability to run a desegregated district. LDF with local counsel, retired federal judge U.W. Clemon, has asked the federal district court to stop Gardendale’s separation efforts and to stop the resegregation of Jefferson County schools. In response to the court’s order, LDF issued the following statement:
“This decision unequivocally affirms the critical importance of desegregation orders, and it explicitly identifies the discriminatory intent behind Gardendale’s attempt to separate its schools from Jefferson County,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill. “However, the court’s order is far from satisfactory, as it nevertheless permits Gardendale to operate two elementary schools. As such, we are discussing our next steps with clients and co-counsel.”
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.