Gwen Ifill

Service information: A wake for Gwen Ifill takes place on Friday, November 18 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 19 at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow.

All services will take place at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street NW Washington, D.C.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) mourns the passing of trailblazer, author, and iconic journalist Gwen Ifill.  Ms. Ifill served as the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and was part of the first team of women to co-host an evening news broadcast, along with co-anchor Judy Woodruff.  Ms. Ifill broke ground throughout her career: as moderator of the Vice-Presidential debates in both 2004 and 2008, she was the first Black woman to moderate a debate during the presidential election cycle. She also moderated a primary debate between Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders during the charged 2016 election season. Ms. Ifill also enjoyed widespread respect from journalists across the political spectrum. 

Gwen Ifill

Ms. Ifill’s defining journalistic approach was her courageous and insightful exploration of issues of politics and race, coupled with in-depth information and analysis.  She was the author of The New York Times best-seller The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She graduated from Simmons College in 1977 and started a career as a reporter for the Boston Herald-American. She was then employed by major national outlets The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and NBC before joining PBS and becoming one of the mainstays of the station’s exceptional journalism and news reporting. Ms. Ifill was highly respected by many colleagues for her integrity, deep knowledge, and professionalism. The 2016 John Chancellor Award from Columbia University was to be awarded to her this week for Excellence in Journalism. Her intellect, insight, and unique voice will be deeply missed.  She will be mourned by countless friends, fans, and family members, including cousin Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-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.