Naacp Head Upbeat On National Convention

July 16, 2009|By a Baltimore Sun reporter

The president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP says it looks as if the city is a good bet to host the civil rights organization's national convention in 2012, which happens to be the 100th anniversary of the local branch.

"It looks favorable," Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham said Wednesday, a day after he, Mayor Sheila Dixon and representatives of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association and the Baltimore Convention Center made a 20-minute pitch to an NAACP panel considering proposals for that year's gathering. Houston also made a presentation Tuesday during the NAACP's annual convention at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Tom Noonan, president and CEO of BACVA, said that while he always feels the city is the best choice, "in this case I'll be very surprised if we're not selected."

Cheatham said there's an outside chance the 2012 host city will be named on Friday, a day after the six-day convention ends, but he said that in the past these decisions have been made by the 64-member board at its meeting in October.

Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Dixon, said the mayor's office had not heard of any decision.

Cheatham said he estimates 4,000 people would register for the convention, but that the event would probably bring ten times that many people to the city in July 2012. He said the group representing the city gave the NAACP committee information about hotel accommodations and transportation to and from the Convention Center and guaranteed the $200,000 required of the local branch.

The NAACP, which has its national headquarters in Baltimore, last held its national convention in the city in 2000.

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