President Barack Obama will be the surprise special guest at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual Phoenix Awards dinner in Washington on Saturday, according to sources familiar with the event.
The black-tie awards gala is the marquee event of the CBCF's Annual Leadership Conference, which begins Wednesday morning and runs through Saturday at the Washington Convention Center.
The conference features meetings, lectures and forums on a variety of topics relevant to African-Americans, as well as a dizzying nightly schedule of VIP receptions, dinners and concerts.
The event may feel like déja vu for the president:In 2008, then-Sen. Obama accepted the CBCF's prestigious Harold Washington award at the same dinner.
This year, one of his closest advisers is among the honorees: Dr. Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, will receive a 2009 Phoenix Award for "significant contributions to society." Rice's fellow Phoenix awardees include actor Danny Glover, Georgia state Rep. Calvin Smyre (D) and Grammy-award winning artist Wyclef Jean.
The awards dinner will take place at the Washington Convention Center Hall D starting at 7 p.m.