When members of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund met with President Carter yesterday there were memories of past civil rights fights and promises of a brighter future.
When Julius Levonne Chambers of Charlotte, N.C., a leading civil rights lawyer and president of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) raised the question of appointing more federal judges who were black or sensitive to the problems of minorities, the President replied, "Do you know there has never been a woman U.S. Attorney in the history of our country? I think that's terrible." The group came away feeling that Carter would name women and minorities to federal judgeships and federal prosecutor positions.
Carter mentioned to Jack Greenberg, director counsel of the LDF, that his current U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, had spent some time in jail during the civil rights marches - "and," Greenberg said, "I told him that I got Andy out!"
The White House meeting commemorated the 23d anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in public schools. It also launched a 40th anniversary of the LDF and a campaign to raise $18.5 million.
One of the 13 plaintiffs in the historic 1954 desegregation suit, Lucinda Todd, said, "I'm just so proud to know I helped the black children gain a little respect for themselves." Her daughter was in the 4th grade when she was refused entrance to an all-white school. "That's when we couldn't eat at lunch counters, you know, when they gave you something in a sack to take out. My daughter couldn't understand why we were treated that way."