Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will speak at the University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Feb. 15, according to Sylvia Carey-Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity.
Ifill, a long-term civil rights lawyer, started her career in 1987 as a senior fellow for the New York American Civil Liberties Union. In the following decades, she worked intermittently for the NAACP — including as president and director-counsel of the organization’s Legal Defense Fund for nine years.
In 2021, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, due in part to her work with the NAACP and her advocacy surrounding police violence and systemic racism.
Along with her legal career, Ifill has held several academic appointments — including an associate professorship at the University of Maryland School of Law and a visiting professorship at Harvard Law School.
Most recently, Ifill was appointed as an inaugural endowed chair in civil rights at Howard University. In this position, she will pioneer the law school’s 14th Amendment Center for Law and Democracy, according to the Dig.
Ifill’s lecture will be part of the University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture, which pays tribute to King’s advocacy and his visits to campus in 1960 and in 1967. She will follow last year’s speaker, Freeman Hrabowski III, at the event hosted by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
In last year’s lecture, Hrabowski discussed civil rights in higher education and his own experiences in civil rights advocacy, The Herald previously reported. Notable topics included the Supreme Court’s looming affirmative action decision and Florida’s potential ban of the Advanced Placement African American Studies courses — both of which came to pass later in the year.
Samantha is a University News editor who oversees the Affinity & Activism beat. She is a sophomore from Tampa, Florida concentrating in Sociology. In her free time, Samantha likes to cook and watch Survivor.