Obama, other US officials at NY Sharpton event

By Verena Dobnik

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 6 2011 5:55 p.m. MDT

"If you want to see the devastation for yourself, walk outside the hotel, get on the E (subway) train and go to Jamaica, Queens," he said, adding that it was once "one of the strongest middle-class African-American neighborhoods that we had in this country."

On Wednesday morning in Harlem, Donovan joined Bloomberg and the city's schools chancellor, Cathie Black, to break ground on a new charter school and community center. The $100 million development is funded by a $60 million federal Department of Education matching grant and a combined $26 million from Google and Goldman Sachs.

After Obama's appearance, the National Action Network planned to give its Keeper of the Dream awards — in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. — to former Los Angeles Lakers basketball great Magic Johnson, entertainer LaToya Jackson, retired Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown and other black luminaries.

The four-day National Action Network conference ends Saturday.

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