NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
In 1940, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) established the Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., to direct its litigation efforts. The “LDF” or “Inc. Fund,” as it was variously known, was established to accept tax-deductible contributions that could not be accepted by the NAACP because of its status as a lobbying organization. Thurgood Marshall, who had served as an attorney with the NAACP since 1934, became the executive director of the LDF at its founding and served in that position until 1961. For many years the governing boards of the NAACP and the LDF overlapped and the two organizations closely coordinated strategy. In 1957, after the Internal Revenue Service launched an investigation into the connections between the two organizations and challenged the validity of LDF’s tax-exempt status, Thurgood Marshall initiated a complete separation of the governing boards of the NAACP and the Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Marshall and other lawyers for the Legal Defense and Educational Fund represented the plaintiffs in the several cases encompassed in the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and they played a major role in initiating suits to force school districts to desegregate schools following the Brown decision. In the Bush v. Orleans case, Marshall and LDF lawyers, including future LDF director Jack Greenberg and future federal judge Constance Baker Motley, regularly assisted A.P. Tureaud, Louisiana coordinator for the NAACP and lead lawyer for the black parents in the New Orleans case.
Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board and the Desegregation of New Orleans Schools