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NAACP bringing its national convention to Cincinnati in 2016

Bill Rinehart

The NAACP has chosen Cincinnati as the site of its 2016 national convention, an event that will bring nearly 10,000 people to the city – and is likely to draw the 2016 presidential candidates as well.

The NAACP last held its national convention here in 2008, a presidential election year; and it drew then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and GOP nominee John McCain to the Duke Energy Convention Center. 2016, too, is a presidential election year; and the July event can be expected to draw presidential candidates and other national political figures.

“Cincinnati was an outstanding host city for our 99th annual convention in 2008 and we are sure that everyone involved will work to ensure that our experience in 2016 will far surpass that memorable event,’’ Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the board of directors of the NAACP, said in a written statement.

“Cincinnati is an excellent location to work to inspire the current generation of civil rights change agents,’’ Brock said.

The announcement was made jointly by the NAACP, the city of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The convention and visitors bureau said the four-day event will use 7,500 hotel rooms and have a $2.2 million economic impact on the region.

“This opportunity is another chance to showcase Cincinnati on the national stage,’’ Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the convention and visitors bureau, said in a written statement.

“It shows that we’re committed to economic viability and attracting the most prestigious events in the world,’’ Lincoln said. “And it shows Cincinnati is a place that values diversity and celebrates the African-American heritage and culture that so deeply defines our region.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

In a written statement, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the NAACP convention, scheduled for July 9-12, will bring national media attention to the city.

“By selecting Cincinnati USA, the NAACP is placing its most important annual event in one of the nation’s pivotal 2016 presidential election swing states,’’ Cranley said. “We welcome the important dialogue that will happen here in Cincinnati as part of the NAACP convention and appreciate the opportunity to host the national influencers and leaders who will be driving those conversations.”

City Manager Harry Black says he believes it will be a success, based upon the people involved in putting it together.  "We'll be ready.  We'll roll out the red carpet.  Obviously, their meetings are going to be very substantive.  Our job will be to make certain that they're happy, and having fun, that they're safe, and have a very memorable experience here."

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.