The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) announced Monday the launch of the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, which aims to provide innovative education and training opportunities for new civil rights attorneys in the South.
The mission of the LDF is to “achieve racial justice, equality and an inclusive society”. The organization is committed to protecting voting rights, ensuring equal access to education, and promoting fairness in the police and criminal justice system.
The LDF announced that a single undisclosed donor contributed $ 40 million to send 50 lawyers through the program.
The program will pay full tuition and fees for law school, summer internships, two-year postgraduate scholarships with a Racial Justice Law Firm in the South, and access to the LDF’s dedicated training programs. In return, the program participants undertake to work as civil rights attorney in the south for eight years.
“For 80 years, LDF has been a leader in developing and supporting many of our country’s legendary civil rights lawyers and leaders. The Marshall Motley Fellowship Program is the next phase in our commitment to identifying and investing in a new generation of brilliant minds who have a deep personal desire to bring about racial justice in the South, ”said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and advisor, LDF.
Ifill said that blacks in the south face constant barriers to voting, educational equity, and racial and economic justice.
“The time has come again for LDF to invest in the growth and development of civil rights attorneys in the south,” said Ifill.
The program, announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was welcomed by King’s daughter, Bernice King.
“Racial injustice continues to plague our country and we need nonviolent warriors who are prepared and equipped on all fronts to deal with it – especially legally,” she said. “Therefore, I wholeheartedly support the launch of the Marshall Motley Fellowship Program through the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. This important decision by the LDF leadership will help attract future advocates who pledge to become the champions necessary for the battles to continue in the courtrooms. “