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On Monday morning Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) was the second public office holder (after Claire McCaskill) to address welcoming remarks to those attending the first plenary session of the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City:

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D): ….Welcome to Kansas City, Missouri. And, uh, we don’t say Kansas for short. Uh, this is Kansas City, Missouri. It’s not, don’t worry, we don’t get upset, just don’t say it. [laughter] Don’t tell people I’ve been to the NAACP convention in Kansas. You haven’t. [laughter] Uh. You didn’t land in Kansas. If you’d landed in Kansas you’d  have been dead, there’s no airport [inaudible]. [laughter] [applause]

Welcome to Kansas City, Missouri, the largest city in the State of Missouri. This is the home of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. [applause] This is the place where the Negro Leagues were formed. [applause, cheers]. This is the place where Satchel Paige pitched two games in one day. This is Kansas City, Missouri. Not far from this place a young haberdasher decided to go into county politics and eventually became the President of the United States. This is the home of Harry Truman. This is the home of Jean Harlow. This is where McDonalds created its happy meal. [laughter] M and Ms were created here in Kansas City. This is the world headquarters of Hallmark Cards, H and R Block, Sprint, Faultless Starch. This is the home of Walt Disney. This is where he first drew a little mouse, named him, and named him Latimer [Mortimer]. Went to California, his wife changed, convinced him to change the name to Mickey. [laughter] But this no Mickey Mouse town, this is Kansas City, Missouri. [applause] We welcome you to Kansas City, Missouri. Missourah, uh huh. Missouri. [laughter]

Now let me just tell you, in my real life I’m a United Methodist pastor. Um, even when I served as mayor I continued to pastor at our church here. One Sunday morning a young man came back into the office and he had glee written all over his face. And you could tell that exuberance was boiling over. And he came back in and he said. “Rev, how much did you get today?”  And so I said, this counts and I [inaudible], and you don’t people [inaudible]. [laughter] And I said, you know, “Young man don’t, you know, you don’t ask people that.” And said, “No, no [inaudible], you got to tell me, how much did you get today?” And I said, “I, I didn’t get anything. What, I’m understanding your question.”  He said, “You know, how much did you get when they passed that tray around?” He said, “I took out a twenty.” He said, “So I.” [laughter, applause]  He said, “So I want to know how much what you get?” [laughter] So I said, “Well, wait just a minute, I didn’t get anything.” But I thought about it. And that young man actually was profound. When you go to a church or a convention you ought to get something out of it. [laughter, applause]

And, what I hope you will get out of this is that no matter how much the pundits say we are in post racial era, no matter how much that you believe that everything is fine, it’s not. [applause] We need the NAACP now as much as ever [applause, cheers]. I hope you get out of it that you are needed. [applause] We have seventeen members of the United States Senate voting “no” for unemployment benefits. We need the NAACP [inaudible] right now! [applause, cheers] We need it! We need it! Don’t you forget it! [applause, cheers]


The 101st NAACP National Convention in Kansas City

NAACP in Kansas City: Benjamin Todd Jealous at the opening press conference

NAACP in Kansas City: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at the opening press conference

NAACP in Kansas City: Sunday – photos

NAACP in Kansas City: Michelle Obama – photos

NAACP in Kansas City: Representative Sheila Jackson Lee on the tea party and human rights

NAACP in Kansas City: Senator Claire McCaskill (D) – “Now is no time to quit.”