NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill to Leave Position Next Spring

The NAACP announced today (Nov 18) that Sherrilyn Ifill will step down after eight years as the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund this coming spring.

The Baltimore resident will focus on writing a book, according to the Baltimore Sun.  The book is about “America’s ongoing embrace of white supremacy,” according to Penguin Random House, who will publish the work in 2023.

“I have given this work my all, and I am proud of our accomplishments, including our increased growth and strength,” Ifill said in a statement. “But I am most proud of the leadership role LDF has played during one of the most tumultuous and volatile periods for civil rights in recent memory.”

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Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said that Ifill is a “life-long servant to our community” and that “(She)embodies what it means to be a trailblazer, leading the charge for Civil Rights and the preservation of democracy for all. Under Sherrilyn’s leadership, the Legal Defense Fund has flourished, innovating to expand its capabilities and continuously tackling issues that are critical to our shared mission and dedication to improving the quality of life for Black people in this country.”

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During Ifill’s tenure, the organization was a frequent critic of the Trump Administration. It filed numerous suits for banning federal agencies and contractors from conducting diversity training.

Attorney Janai Nelson, the associate director-counsel since 2014, led many of those efforts.  Nelson will succeed Ifill next year.

Nelson released a statement expressing her gratitude to Ifill. She wrote, “As LDF emerges from the profound metamorphosis of the past nine years under Sherrilyn’s leadership, I am honored to steward LDF’s next chapter with the skill, vision, care, and courage that it demands.”

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