The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is saddened to learn of the resignation of Barbara Arnwine, who provided visionary leadership as the President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for more than 26 years. As head of a sister civil rights organization, which also litigated and engaged in public policy, Ms. Arnwine has served as a trusted partner to LDF in the collective pursuit of equal justice under law for almost three decades.   

Ms. Arwine’s exceptional leadership spans five presidential administrations and more than a dozen Congresses. Under her stewardship, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights engaged in many of most complex civil rights challenges of our time and translated their victories into better opportunities for African Americans to participate in the political process, access to quality schools, and to be free from discrimination in housing and the workplace.  In 2011, she placed a huge lens on voter suppression with her “Map of Shame,” which highlighted restrictive voting laws across the country. 

Statement from Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of LDF: “Barbara has been an amazing civil rights warrior, colleague and friend. I have learned so much from her leadership and her example. Barbara is a fearless leader of passion and clarity.  All of us who do this work have had the privilege of working side by side with Barbara. Among Barbara’s many great accomplishments is her work over the past 8 months to bring together a powerful coalition of civil rights groups around the issue of policing and racial justice.  It was Barbara who stepped up and took on the difficult task of bringing leaders and groups together, ensuring that young activists and long-established civil rights leaders spoke with one voice in our demand for racial justice in law enforcement. I imagine that Barbara is now preparing to be an even more powerful voice for change.  Her passion is undiminished and her voice is an important one for our country today. I’m excited about Barbara’s next step.” 


The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization.  Please refer to us in media attributions as the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund or LDF.