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Sherrilyn Ifill

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Information about Sherrilyn Ifill

Profile image of Sherrilyn Ifill

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Director
Law Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Carribean Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spain
Favorite Quote:
The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Towards Justice.

Birthplace

Born:
12/17/1962
Birth Location:
Queens, New York, New York

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Director
Law Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Carribean Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spain
Favorite Quote:
The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Towards Justice.

Birthplace

Born:
12/17/1962
Birth Location:
Queens, New York
See how Sherrilyn Ifill is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Nonprofit director and law professor Sherrilyn Ifill was born on December 17, 1962 in New York City to Myrtle and Lester Ifill, Sr. Ifill graduated from Vassar College in 1984 with her B.A. degree in English, and went on to receive her J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1987.

From 1987 to 1988, Ifill served as a senior fellow with New York’s American Civil Liberties Union’s office. She then worked as assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1988 to 1993. While there, Ifill litigated the landmark case of Houston Lawyers’ Association v. Attorney General of Texas in 1991 which declared that the second article of the Voting Rights Act covered judicial elections. In 1993, Ifill accepted a faculty position as professor of law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, focusing on civil procedure and constitutional law. She also co-founded one of the first legal clinics in the nation dedicated to eliminating the legal barriers placed on recently released criminal offenders looking to re-enter society. Her book On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century was published in 2007. In 2012, Ifill was chosen as President and Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In this role, she led the litigation proceedings for Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 and Fisher v. University of Texas Austin in 2016.

Ifill is the recipient of numerous awards including the Award for Professional Excellence from Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession and the M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. She served as the commencement speaker in 2015 for both Bard University and her alma mater, New York University where she was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees. A frequent guest and contributor on CNN, NBC, ABC, C-Span, National Public Radio, Ifill served on the boards of Equal Justice Works, the National Constitution Center, the Learning Policy Institute, the National Women’s Law Center as well as board chair of U.S. Programs for the Open Society from 2011-2013.

Ifill and her husband, Ivo Knobloch, have three daughters.

Sherrilyn Ifill was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 30, 2016.

See how Sherrilyn Ifill is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sherrilyn Ifill's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her mother's death from breast cancer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers being bused to school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about her early awareness of racial injustice
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her stepmother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about her experiences of religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers her early interest in literature
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about her father's strict discipline
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the changes in her neighborhood in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls the influence of Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about her interest in baseball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers the music of her youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her experiences of bullying
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her relationship with her father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her early aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her influences at Vassar College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers meeting her husband in Spain
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls applying to the New York University School of Law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about her aspiration to become a civil rights lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers learning about civil procedure
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about the value of public education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls the racial tensions at the New York University School of Law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill remembers her law internships
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her fellowship at the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her family's opinion of her interracial marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her children's upbringing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her first case at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her first case at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the importance of local politics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls the appropriation of civil rights language by conservatives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about responding to the changing forms of racism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the Thurgood Marshall Institute
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls joining the faculty of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her career at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her clinical program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls her legal research on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the research for 'On the Courthouse Lawn'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes Taunya Lavelle Banks
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls her writer's residency at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her book, 'On the Courthouse Lawn'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the history of lynching in Maryland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls preparing to lead the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill recalls preparing to lead the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her vision for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the changes to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the rapid response team at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes the work of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about the recent police shootings of African Americans
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her educational outreach efforts
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sherrilyn Ifill talks about youth activism against policy brutality
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes lessons from the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her hopes for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sherrilyn Ifill describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sherrilyn Ifill reflects upon her father's legacy