The Herbert Lehman Prize is a highly selective, national scholarship that bestows yearly honors on deserving, exceptional undergraduates. In honor of the former governor and senator from New York who fought tirelessly for a number of civil rights concerns, the scholarship was founded in 1964 and bears his name.
The original goals of the Herbert Lehman Scholarships were to expand the representation of African Americans in the legal industry and to assist African-American students in attending formerly segregated four-year schools and institutions in the South.
THE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND (LDF)
The foremost human and civil rights law company in the nation is The Legal Defense Fund (LDF). LDF was established in 1940 under the direction of Thurgood Marshall, who later became the inaugural African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. This was at a time when rampant state-sponsored racial injustice hampered the country’s ambitions for fairness and due process of law. LDF’s goal has been the same from that time forward: to attain racial justice, fairness, and an open society.
LDF has a history of providing knowledgeable legal representation in the High Court and other tribunals across the country as the legal branch of the civil rights movement. The triumphs of LDF laid the groundwork for the civil liberties that all Americans now take for granted. LDF launched a concerted legal offensive against officially sanctioned public school segregation in its first two decades. The culmination of this battle was the 1954 Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education, which has been called “the most significant American government act of any type since the Emancipation Proclamation.” The “separate but equal” system of legally sanctioned segregation, sometimes known as Jim Crow, was rejected by the Court’s majority ruling.
In order to uphold Brown’s commitment in the face of ferocious and frequently violent “massive resistance” to public school integration, LDF was compelled to file lawsuits against hundreds of school systems across the nation. The Supreme Court did not issue orders that ultimately demanded that all traces of desegregation be eliminated “root and branch” until LDF’s success in cases like Cooper v. Aaron (1958), Green v. County School Board (1968), and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (1971), which were won by LDF after its initial victories. LDF has been at the forefront of the fight to give every young person in our country an equal and high-quality opportunity to learn in more recent decades. For instance, LDF acted as lead counsel for Latino and African-American students who intervened in the case that led to the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, which endorsed racial-conscious university entrance policies to reap the benefits of a diverse student body on educational outcomes.
The LDF has not restricted its fight against racial prejudice to the public school system. The Supreme Court invalidated the separation of public buildings, parks and leisure areas, hospitals, and restaurants as a result of LDF’s legal actions from the 1940s through the 1960s. Many of these victories were made possible by LDF’s tenacious representation of the civil rights movement leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous grassroots activists who were detained for taking part in freedom rides, protests, and marches to denounce widespread racial discrimination across the nation. For instance, LDF convinced the Supreme Court to drop all charges against protesters who took part in civil rights sit-ins in Hamm v. City of Rock Hill (1964).
ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP
Students who match the requirements for eligibility and awarding the Herbert Lehman Scholarship can apply right now. Awards often last no longer than four years.
The Herbert Lehman Education Program’s goal now is to assist in making the promise of racial equality a social, financial, and political reality by assisting bright undergraduate students who have financial needs to continue their education and get a bachelor’s degree.
Before submitting an application, candidates who are looking to apply for the Herbert Lehman Scholarship are strongly advised to check the eligibility requirements and program description.
• American citizenship
• Must be a high school senior graduating, a first-year freshman in an accredited four-year institution, or a student moving into an approved four-year college. Juniors are not eligible.
• Proven financial need, with a total family income of no more than $65,000
• A history of academic success.
• Proven dedication to serving the public.
Interested persons can now apply here https://www.naacpldf.org/about-us/scholarships/herbert-lehman-education-fund-scholarship/