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Obama to celebrate NAACP 100th anniversary in New York

President Barack Obama will visit New York City next month as part of the NAACP's 100th anniversary celebration, the group said Tuesday.

The NAACP, which got its start in a New York City apartment in February 1909, celebrates its centennial next month, from July 11 through July 16.

The six-day conference in New York will feature Obama, who will make his first official visit to the city as the leader of the free world.

"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," Obama said in a statement.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined NAACP president Ben Jealous at Cooper Union in Manhattan Tuesday to announce Obama's visit and unveil a plaque honoring the organization. The plaque will hang in the great hall of Cooper Union, site of the organization's first conference.

Obama is the keynote speaker on the final day of the conference. Other speakers include former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Political officials scheduled to attend the event include Gov. David A. Paterson, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) and Bloomberg.

The conference, expected to attract more than 10,000 and generate $7.5 million, is a platform for the national organization to unveil several new programs and its legislative agenda for the upcoming year. The multiracial organization is the country's oldest and largest civil rights group.

The NAACP continues to advocate for civil rights, conduct voter mobilization and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

"We gathered here in Cooper Union 100 years ago last month to launch a movement that would transform . . . the entire world," Jealous said.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have traveled to the city since he became president, but it was not an official visit. They came 11 days ago to catch a Broadway show, a "date night" promise he made to his wife during the presidential campaign.

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