President Barack Obama will speak at the annual convention next week run by the controversial activist and TV host Al Sharpton.
Rev. Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama wave to the audience at the National Action Network's Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala in New York, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Frank Franklin II/AP
Obama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the organization next Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
The annual convention of the National Action Network is being held April 9-12 in New York at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
“The 2014 NAN national convention will address issues of civil rights and social justice including, gun control reform, education, health and wellness, economic justice and much more,” the organization's website says. “The Convention will kick of with NAN’s annual Keepers of the Dream Award Gala in New York City."
The event coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights Act. On Thursday, Obama will speak at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library about the act.
Sharpton is the host of MSNBC's Politics Nation and has been known for inflammatory rhetoric.
He is a long time activist in New York, and first became a national figure for falsely accusing a state prosecutor of rape in the Tawana Brawley hoax, for which he lost a defamation suit in the late 1980s. He was also criticized for the Crown Heights riots in 1991 that took on an anti-Jewish tone. In 2004, Sharpton ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama previously spoke to the organization in 2011.