The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) was founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall. Although LDF's primary purpose was to provide legal assistance to poor African Americans, its work over the years has brought greater justice to all Americans. Originally affiliated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), LDF has been an entirely separate organization since 1957. LDF has been involved in more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any organization except the U.S. Department of Justice. Although LDF works primarily through the courts, its strategies include advocacy, educational outreach, legislation monitoring, coalition building and policy research. Additionally, it provides scholarships for exceptional African-American students.
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