NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

LDF is America’s legal counsel on issues of race and the nation’s oldest non-profit civil rights firm. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, LDF focuses on issues of education, economic justice, criminal justice, and political participation.

From the early white primary cases to the present day, the quest for the unfettered political participation of African Americans has been an integral part of LDF’s mission. LDF has been involved in nearly all of the precedent-setting litigation relating to minority voting rights over many decades, including litigating the cases that led to the abolition of white primaries, creating the first majority African-American congressional and state legislative districts in several states, and removing barriers to black voter participation and office-holding.

LDF has also been involved in every major legislative and administrative advocacy issue impacting minority political participation, including helping to craft the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Cesar E. Chavez Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.

Most recently, LDF has successfully litigated cases challenging discriminatory felon disfranchisement laws and successfully defended the 2006 Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments before the United States Supreme Court.

In keeping with our commitment to political empowerment and equal opportunity for the disenfranchised, LDF also advocates for the full inclusion of people of color in the political process. In 2010 LDF launched Count on Change—an historic public education campaign about the civil and voting rights implications of the 2010 Census and encouraging Black participation. LDF also continues to advocate for the correction of the census miscount—the counting or prisoners at their place of incarceration—and prison-based gerrymandering. In 2008, LDF launched Prepared to Vote, a public education campaign designed to educate voters about the voter registration process and potential barriers before Election Day.

In addition, LDF recently produced several publications concerning minority voting rights and the role race continues to play in the political process. “Post-Racial” America? Not Yet: Why the Fight for Voting Rights Continues After the Election of President Barack Obama, examines the continued saliency of race in the political process; Tearing Down Obstacles to Democracy and Protecting Minority Voters: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, educates the public about the operation of the Voting Rights Act’s Section 5 administrative enforcement process; and Independent Redistricting Commissions: Reforming Redistricting Without Reversing Progress Toward Racial Equality, educates the public of the need to carefully evaluate redistricting reform measures to guard against unraveling the rights of minority voters.

LDF’s recent and historic work protecting and advocating for the right to vote demonstrates why LDF’s commitment to this essential work remains undiminished. LDF is poised to enforce legal protections against racial discrimination and secure the constitutional and civil rights of African Americans. In 2011, LDF will help ensure that redistricting is fair and open to everyone.

LDF’s national office is in New York, and its regional office is in Washington, D.C.

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