The NAACP this week celebrates its 100 year anniversary in New York City highlighting a century of Bold Dreams, Big Victories with a visit from President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and many icons of the civil rights movement. The Convention started yesterday and runs through July 16th at the New York Hilton.
“For 100 years the NAACP has pushed us to acknowledge the humanity in each other and ensure that our laws will follow suit. You (the NAACP) have inspired us to strive for that mountaintop even when the climb seemed steep and for that I honor you, I congratulate you, and I wish you another century of accomplishment as extraordinary as your first,” stated President Barack Obama. “It’s humbling to think of the progress made possible by ordinary folks who refused to settle for the world as it was and instead stood up and fought to remake the world as it should be,” concluded President Barack Obama.
“New York is the birthplace of the NAACP, and it is only fitting that this great city be the host of our 100th Anniversary Convention,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “We gather in New York to celebrate the NAACP’s past accomplishments as we look toward the future of our organization. Together we will celebrate our victories from the past 100 years, from Brown v. Board of Education to the election of Barack Obama. We will also lay out our bold dreams for 2009 and beyond with new initiatives on the critical issues facing our nation,” concluded Jealous.
A yearly tradition, the NAACP Convention will set the stage for its programs and legislative agenda for the next year. The organization will unveil a sweeping initiative on criminal justice and law enforcement which will use cutting-edge technology and engage all of the NAACP State Conferences and Branches.
Speakers during the six-day event also include New York Governor David A. Paterson, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, and Reverend Al Sharpton.
On Thursday, July 16th, the NAACP will present NAACP Chairman Julian Bond with the Spingarn Medal.
The Spingarn Medal, instituted in 1914 by the late Joel E. Spingarn, then NAACP Chairman, is awarded for the highest or noblest achievement by an American of African descent during the preceding year or years.
“The NAACP and thousands of our members are responsible for many of America’s seminal moments. In each decade, we have been a powerful, transformative force helping our beloved country realize its own promise. As we move forward in this new century, there is no better place to celebrate our centennial than in New York City, the birthplace of the NAACP,” stated Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors.
“The New York State Conference is proud to be the host of the NAACP Centennial Convention. This year’s convention marks an historic milestone with the celebration of 100 years of a campaign to ensure the political, educational, social and economic rights of all people and to eliminate discrimination in our nation,” said Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference of Branches. “This Convention and Centennial Celebration are unique events for New York because the organization was founded here in 1909 by a small multiracial group of concerned New Yorkers. The recent election of President Barack Obama stands as testament to how far the NAACP has led our nation since the days when African Americans could not vote, let alone run for and win the White House. It is historically correct for the NAACP to lay out its agenda for the future in New York; our great state has been in the forefront of the civil rights movement since it began, and I can think of no better place for the NAACP to outline our bold vision for the next century,” concluded Dukes.
“For 100 years, the NAACP has been tireless in its efforts to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights. Together with the residents of New York, and thousands of civil rights heroes of yesterday and today we will look to the future and march forward in our second century continuing our proud tradition of dreaming bold dreams and achieving big victories, “ said Roslyn Brock, Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors and Chairman of the 2009 Convention Planning Committee.
The NAACP selected New York City as the host city for the Centennial Convention based on the efforts and support of National Board Member and New York State Conference President Hazel N. Dukes and its dedicated members, Leonard Riggio, Chairman Barnes & Noble; Stephen Schwartzman, Chairman & CEO The Blackstone Group; Earl G. Graves, Sr., Spingarn Medalist and Editor and Publisher Black Enterprise Magazine; Governor David A. Paterson; Mayor Michael R Bloomberg; Former Mayor David N. Dinkins; NYC & Company and Bill Lynch Associates.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.