Obama Tells Morehouse Grads to Be Unafraid in Commencement Speech

Obama spoke highly of Martin Luther King Jr. throughout address.

Posted: 05/20/2013 08:45 AM EDT
Obama Tells MOrehouse Grads to Be Unafraid in Commencement Speech

President Obama encouraged Morehouse College graduates to use their power for something larger than themselves as he delivered his commencement speech at the all-male historically Black college Sunday.

During his motivating commencement speech, he gave the new graduates an urgent call to action in both the African-American and global communities. (Read the full transcript HERE.)

"But it is not just the African-American community that needs you. The country needs you.  The world needs you," he said to the new alumni. 

He also added the importance of being the best men possible in their personal lives as well.

“And that’s what I’m asking all of you to do: keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife, or boyfriend to your partner, or father to your children that you can be. Because nothing is more important.”

Obama spoke highly of the school's most distinguished alumni, Martin Luther King Jr., throughout his speech, using him  as a shining example of a person who overcame obstacles as a student and became a man who was “unafraid” to take on society’s ills by the time he graduated from Morehouse.

"Over the last 50 years, thanks to the moral force of Dr. King and a Moses generation that overcame their fear, and cynicism, and despair, barriers have come tumbling down, new doors of opportunity have swung open; laws, hearts and minds have been changed to the point where someone who looks like you can serve as President of the United States."

He also told the graduates not to let racism and other road blocks be excuses for why they cannot push forward.

“We’ve got no time for excuses not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven’t. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that’s still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned."

Morehouse gave Obama an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the commencement ceremony in Atlanta.


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(Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

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