Today, the Legal Defense Fund’s (LDF) Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI) launched its Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Research Paper series in the form of an eJournal – the Thurgood Marshall Institute Social Science Review (TMISSR). TMISSR is a digital repository of the Institute’s research which will broaden access to the public, researchers, lawyers, and other interested individuals to TMI’s groundbreaking research in LDF’s four core pillars: voting rights, criminal justice reform, education equity, and economic justice.  

“We are delighted to announce the launch of the Thurgood Marshall Institute Social Science Review, which continues LDF’s long history of engaging social science research to advance the full dignity and citizenship of Black people in America,” said Janai Nelson, President and Director-Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund. “The launch of this eJournal is occurring at a critical juncture in our nation’s history where bans on Black history and truthful education are rampant. An interdisciplinary journal at the intersection of law and social science crucially reaches across disciplines and beyond common barriers which will educate and empower communities.” 

The Thurgood Marshall Institute Social Science Review reflects the Legal Defense Fund – starting with Thurgood Marshall – and its ongoing commitment to engaging in interdisciplinary social science research to inform litigation, policy and organizing aimed at dismantling anti-Black racism in the U.S. 

“We are pleased to unveil Thurgood Marshall Institute Social Science Review offering public access to the Institute’s research since its founding in 2015,” said Karla McKanders, Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute.  “The launch of the TMISSR during Black History Month serves as a poignant reminder of the pivotal role research has played in challenging discriminatory laws in the U.S. It also honors trailblazers like Thurgood Marshall, who recognized the essential role of research in constitutional challenges to laws upholding racial segregation.” 

Launched in 2015, the Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI) is the multidisciplinary research center of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). Beginning with the school desegregation litigation in Mendez v. Westminster (1947) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Thurgood Marshall recognized that an interdisciplinary approach is vital to dismantling anti-Black racism and effectuating systemic change. The Institute complements LDF’s educational and non-litigation advocacy by undertaking original qualitative and quantitative research, in addition to preserving the history of the Civil Rights Movement in its renowned Archives.  

Access the SSRN catalogue here. 

Subscribe to the SSRN catalogue here 


  Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. 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 Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that 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.