Protesters shout down aldermen over Obama Presidential Center

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CHICAGO -- African-American aldermen attempting to praise the Obama Foundation for hiring minority contractors were shouted down at City Hall Wednesday, as groups express concern over whether the planned presidential library could lead to displacement of low-income residents on the South Side.

Members of the City Council Black Caucus held a press conference to congratulate the African-American contractors recently selected to manage construction of the Obama Presidential Center.

"African-American owned businesses are the backbone of Chicago, and there are no four better companies to help build the Obama Presidential Center than those that have been selected by the Obama Foundation," said Ald. Leslie Hairston (D-5th Ward).

Hairston's comments could barely be heard over chants from a handful of activists calling for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). Such an agreement would include requirements for jobs to go to area residents, and protections for low-income housing. A coalition of community groups said that would, "ensure that low income families can stay in the neighborhood surrounding the Obama Center."

President Obama has said he would not sign a community benefit contract.

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