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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp promised Monday that an investigation into abuses in HUD programs won't be used as an excuse to gut housing subsidies for low- and moderate-income Americans. Mr. Kemp, in a speech to the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), also praised the civil rights group for extending the American dream to blacks.

The NAACP, he said, has been the central mover in an unfinished two-step process to win equality for minorities.

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``Chapter 1 is a proud part of our country's history,'' Kemp said. But he said the United States couldn't effectively promote its system as a model for the world until it finishes the next stage - achieving equal economic opportunity as well.

The NAACP convention opened Sunday with a speech from its executive director, Benjamin Hooks. Mr. Hooks said President Bush has lifted the ``iron curtain'' separating blacks from the White House, but recent Supreme Court rulings pose a critical challenge to minorities.

Hooks suggested that the President consider either revamping or dismantling the US Civil Rights Commission, which Hooks said became an ``unmitigated disaster'' during the Reagan era.

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