NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Launches Scholarship Fund to Create Next Generation of Civil Rights Attorneys

Criminal Justice Reform Education


The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has announced, on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a groundbreaking new initiative that will groom the next generation of civil rights attorneys in the South.

Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP) is an innovative educational and training opportunity that will help produce the next generation of civil rights attorneys to serve Black communities in the South. This new scholarship and pipeline program will build upon the legacy set forth by the NAACP. The MMSP shows LDF’s never-ending commitment to the South and launches as a new southern regional office is slated to open in Atlanta later this year.

“For 80 years, LDF has been at the forefront of developing and supporting many of our nation’s legendary civil rights lawyers and leaders. The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program is the next phase of our commitment to identify and invest in a new generation of brilliant minds who have a deep personal desire to bring about racial justice in the South,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President, and Director-Counsel said in a written statement.

Over the next 20 years, the MMSP aims to support the education and training of 50 aspiring civil rights lawyers. The program will afford participants:

  • a full law school scholarship for tuition, room, board, and incidentals — to ease the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing a career in racial justice;
  • summer internships to begin their training as civil rights lawyers early in their law school careers;
  • a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national or regional civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South — to provide unprecedented access to professional development and skills-building, training, and preparation; and
  • access to special trainings sponsored by LDF and the National Academy of Sciences.

For those interested in the program, the MMSP application deadline is February 16. You can find all information pertaining to MMSP at

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