In recognition of LDF’s 75 anniversary, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issues a statement from the Justice Department praising the past and future work of LDF.
Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement on the 75th anniversary of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund:
“On behalf of the United States Department of Justice, I congratulate the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on 75 years of passionate legal advocacy and extensive educational outreach in its tireless pursuit of equality and justice throughout the nation. Since 1940, the NAACP LDF has stood at the forefront of America’s struggle to ensure that equality under the law is protected by the law. From the historic victory in Brown v. Board of Education, achieved under the leadership of legendary founder Thurgood Marshall, to the wide-ranging efforts of the visionaries who continue to build on Brown’s promise today, the NAACP LDF has made once-unimaginable progress in expanding democracy, drawing attention to persistent disparities, and securing the more just society that all Americans deserve. As this vital organization celebrates 75 years of civil rights achievements, I look forward to all that it will accomplish in the days and years to come.”
Vermont’s U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy enters into the Congressional record more praise for LDF’s breadth of work over these 75 years, and calls on Congress to restore the Voting Right Acts to honor the “principles of equality” from which LDF was founded.
Mr. LEAHY: Mr. President, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., one of the great civil rights organizations in the Nation’s history. Seventy-five years ago, Thurgood Marshall established LDF or the ‘‘Inc. Fund’’—as it was commonly known then—as a separate legal entity. The efforts of the men and women of this organization throughout the years have transformed our Nation for the better. I am grateful for the leaders who have dedicated their lives to the perennial effort to move this country toward a more perfect union. I would extend a special thanks to Sherrilyn Ifill, the current president and director-counsel of LDF; Leslie Proll, the director of the Washington, DC, office; and Debo Adegbile, the former acting director-counsel of LDF. Their dedication is emblematic of the hard-working staff of the Legal Defense Fund.
Most of us know about LDF’s work to dismantle segregation in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, but the organization’s advocacy for civil rights extends far beyond litigating groundbreaking cases. The grass roots leaders of LDF have also helped achieve greater racial justice through its legislative efforts, including working with members from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The Legal Defense Fund has contributed its knowledge and expertise on issues such as voting rights, equal employment access, fair housing, education and criminal justice, and their efforts have resulted in legislation and policies that have improved the lives of millions of Americans.
This year, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma as well as the 75th anniversary of LDF, I once again urge my fellow Senators to join our effort to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s narrow majority in Shelby County v. Holder. The best way to honor civil rights heroes such as Thurgood Marshall, and all the men and women of LDF, is to enact real and meaningful legislative reforms that advance the principles of equality for which those individuals dedicated their lives.
Read more notable testimonials of LDF’s 75 years of fighting for justice and equality here.