Civil rights leaders, members of Congress, and activists joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in its 70th Anniversary celebration at a reception and book signing at the in the nation’s capitol, at the National Archives.
Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post, served as moderator for a panel discussion that featured LDF Past President and Director- Counsel Elaine R. Jones and current LDF President and Director-Counsel John Payton, in which the three talked about the current state of racial and social justice.
“We’re the country’s first civil rights law firm,” said Payton, citing many of LDF’s achievements during the last seven decades. Quoting one of LDF’s founders, Charles Hamilton Houston, Payton added, “We have made enormous progress, no doubt about it. But, we can’t ‘shout too soon.’ There are lots of issues yet to be resolved.”
Jones acknowledged the progress made, but added, “No matter what, somewhere along the line you are going to know you are Black in America.”
Since 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) has considered itself America’s legal counsel on issues of race. Through advocacy and litigation, LDF focuses on issues of education, voter protection, economic justice, and criminal justice. LDF also encourages students to embark on careers in the public interest through scholarships and internship programs. LDF pursues racial justice to move our nation toward a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all.