President Joe Biden Awarded Honorary Degree From Morehouse College

During his speech, the President spoke about the Morehouse tradition and his first-term accomplishments that have benefited Black Americans.

During the commencement exercises for the 2024 graduating class of Morehouse College, President Joe Biden received an honorary degree from the historically Black college on Sunday, May 19.

Biden opened his speech by thanking President David Thomas, the faculty, staff, and alumni before joking about the number of Morehouse men who work in his administration.

“I got more Morehouse men in the White House telling me what to do than I know what to do.  (Laughter.)  You all think I’m kidding, don’t you?  (Laughs.)  You know I’m not.  And it’s the best thing that’s happened to me,” Biden said.

“I have no doubt that a Morehouse man will be president one day,” adding that it will have to take place after Vice President Kamala Harris. “Just after an AKA from Howard… She’s tough, guys.”

Biden also touted his first-term accomplishments that benefited Black Americans.

“Instead of a trail of broken promises, we’re investing more money than ever in Black families and Black communities,” Biden said.  “We’re reconnecting Black neighborhoods cut off by old highways and decades of disinvestment where no one cared about the community.” 

“We’ve delivered checks in pockets to reduce child — Black child poverty to the lowest rate in history,” he continued. “We’re removing every lead pipe in America so every child can drink clean water without fear of brain damage, and then can’t afford to remove the lead pipes themselves.”

EXCLUSIVE: Morehouse President David Thomas and Sen. Raphael Warnock Issue Statements About President Joe Biden's Upcoming Commencement Address

While Biden’s speech at a graduation ceremony would not normally garner much attention, his ongoing support for Israel's war against Hamas following the militant group's Oct. 7 attack has sparked protests across the nation at numerous college campuses. In February 2024, a coalition of more than 1,000 Black pastors urged Biden to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza and expressed disappointment with his response. 

At the commencement, there were demonstrations from students at Morehouse. Some students turned their chairs in silent protest while others wore keffiyehs, which are Palestinian scarves, over their black graduation gowns to show their solidarity. In his speech, Biden addressed his stance on the war which he described as a “humanitarian conflict.”

“I support peaceful nonviolent protest,” he said. “Your voices should be heard, and I promise you I hear them.”

"This is one of the hardest, most complicated problems in the world. I know it angers and frustrates many of you…It's a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that's why I've called for an immediate ceasefire," Biden said, garnering crowd applause.

Biden’s next commencement address will be given to the graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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