FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND THE COOPER UNION PRESENT NAACP WITH PLAQUE TO BE PERMANENTLY DISPLAYED AT SITE OF FIRST PUBLIC MEETING COMMEMORATING NAACP'S CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY
New York City to Host NAACP's Centennial Convention in July, Bringing
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art President George Campbell today presented National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, Vice-Chair Roslyn Brock and New York State Conference of Branches President Hazel N. Dukes with a plaque commemorating NAACP’s centennial anniversary at The Cooper Union’s Great Hall, where the organization first met. The plaque will be displayed permanently at the Great Hall. Mayor Bloomberg also announced that – as part of the NAACP Centennial Convention, which will take place in New York City July 11-17 – the non-profit oral history organization, StoryCorps, will produce an exclusive compilation CD with interviews with NAACP leaders. StoryCorps will also record interviews with NAACP delegates from around the country during the convention. The convention is expected to bring 10,000 people to the City and generate $7.5 million in economic activity. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Barnes & Noble chairman and co-chair of the NAACP convention committee Len Reggio, and StoryCorps founder and president David Isay.
“In 1909, a courageous, interracial group of Americans who were deeply disturbed by the languishing cause of racial equality in our country met at The Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall for what they called, ‘a national conference for the renewal of the struggle for civil and political liberty.’ Out of that conference grew a new organization – the NAACP, and since its founding, no group has played a larger role in helping to shape and strengthen the social fabric of our nation,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City – where the NAACP was founded a century ago – is proud to commemorate its Centennial Anniversary and host the Centennial Convention. In so doing, not only do we celebrate its 100 years of achievements, but also join with the organization as it looks to the future and continued success fulfilling its mission.”
“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,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “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 the Brown vs. The 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.”
“The New York State Conference is proud to be the host of the NAACP Centennial Convention,” said NAACP New York State Conference of Branches President Hazel N. Dukes. “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. These Convention and Centennial Celebration events are unique 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 vision 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 dreams for the next century.”
The StoryCorps compilation CD will combine interviews with NAACP leaders with stories from StoryCorps’ Griot Project, an initiative to collect and preserve the voices of African-Americans. The CD will be played at events during the convention and at New York City’s Official Visitors Information Center throughout that week. StoryCorps is the largest oral history project of its kind ever undertaken, having recorded more than 25,000 audio interviews with more than 50,000 participants from all 50 states since its founding in 2003. Excerpts of select stories are broadcast weekly on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Over 2,500 stories have been collected by StoryCorps for the Griot Project – named after the West African term for storyteller –all of which will be archived at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In addition to its involvement in the Griot Project, StoryCorps operates a recording studio in Lower Manhattan where members of the public can make a reservation to record a story with their loved ones.
“StoryCorps is privileged to help preserve the legacy of the NAACP and share the personal stories of some of their most influential members with the city of New York and NAACP delegates,” said StoryCorps Founder and President David Isay.
During the Centennial Convention, the NAACP plans to unveil a sweeping initiative on criminal justice and law enforcement accountability. The City estimates the 10,000 convention attendees will spend nearly $4.5 million while in New York City. In 2008, the City’s convention business generated more than $5 billion in economic activity. Every year conventions bring roughly $350 million in tax revenue to the City.
“The NAACP’s Centennial Convention is an important historical milestone that will attract visitors from around the country and have a significant economic impact on New York City,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York. “We’re honored to have NAACP back here for such a momentous occasion, and we’re confident that they will take great pleasure in the City’s cultural diversity and boundless energy.”
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
Christopher Fleming (NAACP) (202) 631-0929
Kimberly Spell/Tiffany Townsend (NYC & Company) (212) 484-1270