Advancing Racial Equity in the South Through Research and Impact Litigation

A joint project of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Lynn Walker Huntley Fellowship will help early-career attorneys develop the skills and experience they need to advance education equity through research, policy analysis, and litigation. The goal is to build a pool of in-house legal staff to support efforts to increase educational opportunities for students of color and students from low-income families in the southern states.

The fellowship honors the rich legacy of Lynn Walker Huntley, a trailblazing lawyer and architect in philanthropy who was deeply involved in a wide spectrum of civil rights cases and causes. Among her many accomplishments, Lynn Walker Huntley was the first Black woman to serve as Editor of the Columbia Law Review, the first Black woman to head the Special Litigation Section in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the first woman president of the Southern Education Foundation. Fellows will receive ongoing professional development and mentorship from Southern Education Foundation and Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Lynn Walker Huntley’s vision, tenacity, and humanity showed all of us working at the Legal Defense Fund how to advocate for clients. She made sure that the journey to assure quality education without regard to race, wealth or zip code was generational work.”

– Deval Patrick, Former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

During his or her tenure the Lynn Walker Huntley Social Justice Fellow will:

  • assist in developing and implementing strategies to advance education equity policies at local, state, regional, and national levels;
  • research and identify education issues to advance through legislation or litigation at the regional and national levels; and
  • hold advocacy trainings for SEF staff and other equity-minded stakeholders.

At the conclusion of the fellowship, each fellow will produce a report or project describing the progress made on a key education equity issue as a result of their contributions.

Lynn Walker Huntley Social Justice Fellows will concentrate their activity in five key states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. One fellowship will be granted each year and the fellow will be situated in the SEF headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

SEF and SPLC will begin accepting applications for the Lynn Walker Huntley Social Justice Fellowship in September 2021. The fellowship will begin in 2022.


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