President Barack Obama has become the sixth sitting U.S. president to deliver the keynote address at a Howard University commencement, speaking to more than 2,300 graduates and more than 25,000 family members on campus at the black college.
It was also one of the best speeches of his presidency, reported Mic. “The speech was unapologetically black, quoting black author Zora Neale Hurston, lauding singer Prince and applauding activists in the Black Lives Matter movement who fight for racial justice.” At one point, Obama even told graduating students to “be confident in your Blackness.”
In his commencement speech, Obama said the country is “a better place today” compared to when he graduated from college 30 years ago. “A lot of folks didn’t even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback,” Obama said. “When I was a graduate, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T.”
Obama told graduating students to serve as “seeds of change” and pointed out how many great American icons started off at Howard. According to the school’s website, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick awarded Obama with a Doctor of Science degree rather than a doctor of laws or letters to call attention to the importance of the passing of ObamaCare for all persons in the country.
“The seeds of change for all America were sown here,” Obama said.
“So make no mistake Class of 2016. You’ve got plenty of work to do,” said Obama, speaking on the many challenges and issues including the “justice gap,” terrorism, and racism and inequality needing attention in the country and elsewhere. “But as complicated and intractable as these challenges may see, the truth is your generation is better position than any before you to meet those challenges.”
Many Howard grads and supporters shared their thoughts on the black college’s commencement on Twitter, check it out below.
I think we’re hearing Obama’s black voice. I knew we would hear it for real, for real in this last year. #HU2016
— Jantastik (@jantastik) May 7, 2016
— Matt Anderson (@MattMediaPro) May 7, 2016
— Dayn (@xoxodaynah) May 7, 2016
Congrats to the graduating Class of 2016 at Howard!