Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)

Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, the Legal Defense Fund served as the legal force behind the civil rights movement and a constant advocate of human rights. After winning Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the LDF filed hundreds of cases against school districts throughout the period of “Massive Resistance.” In 1957 the LDF became independent of the NAACP. Besides success in desegregation of schools, the LDF won voting rights in Smith v. Allwright (1943), ended antimiscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia (1967), eradicated employment discrimination in Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971), and challenged the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia (1972). Their ranks include figures such as Jack Greenberg, Julius Chambers, and Elaine Jones.