May 20, 2013 Slideshows

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President Obama at Morehouse 

Joeff Davis
Because of security requirements the crowd was forced to wait for hours wrapped in ponchos and huddled in the pouring rain for the commencement program to begin.
Joeff Davis
Morehouse students wiped down the soaking wet chairs where alumni and graduates would sit during the ceremony.
Joeff Davis
The rain stopped briefly while drummers led the procession of future Morehouse graduates into the commencement ceremony.
Joeff Davis
Georgia Representative John Lewis was among those in attendance.
Joeff Davis
A Morehouse student looks back into the crowd before the start of the ceremony.
Joeff Davis
President Obama smiles at the crowd after taking the stage for the commencement ceremony. Obama's appearance was the first time a sitting president gave a commencement address at a Georgia school since 1938.
Joeff Davis
The Morehouse college Glee club performed throughout the ceremony.
Joeff Davis
President Obama shares a laugh with Morehouse president Dr. John Silvanus Wilson Jr.. Before becoming Morehouse's president in January 2013, Dr. Wilson was appointed by President Obama to be the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a position he held since 2009.
Joeff Davis
As the president started his speech the skies darkened, Obama said, "I also have to say that you all are going to get wet. And I'd be out there with you if I could. But Secret Service gets nervous. So I'm going to have to stay here, dry. But know that I'm there with you in spirit."
Joeff Davis
The crowd stood in the pouring rain listening to President Obama's speech.

It rained throughout much of the speech.
Joeff Davis
President Obama said during his speech, "My job, as President, is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunity for everybody -- policies that strengthen the middle class and give more people the chance to climb their way into the middle class. Policies that create more good jobs and reduce poverty, and educate more children, and give more families the security of health care, and protect more of our children from the horrors of gun violence. That's my job. Those are matters of public policy, and it is important for all of us -- black, white and brown -- to advocate for an America where everybody has got a fair shot in life. Not just some. Not just a few."
Joeff Davis
President Obama closed his speech by saying, "As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back. Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work -- she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.

So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need. If you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy -- the understanding of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you're not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple. It should give you the ability to connect. It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers... the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had -- because there but for the grace of God, go I -- I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.

So it’s up to you to widen your circle of concern -- to care about justice for everybody, white, black and brown. Everybody. Not just in your own community, but also across this country and around the world. To make sure everyone has a voice, and everybody gets a seat at the table; that everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, what your last name is -- it doesn’t matter, everybody gets a chance to walk through those doors of opportunity if they are willing to work hard enough...

...That’s what we’ve come to expect from you, Morehouse -- a legacy of leaders -- not just in our black community, but for the entire American community. To recognize the burdens you carry with you, but to resist the temptation to use them as excuses. To transform the way we think about manhood, and set higher standards for ourselves and for others. To be successful, but also to understand that each of us has responsibilities not just to ourselves, but to one another and to future generations. Men who refuse to be afraid. Men who refuse to be afraid...

...Success may not come quickly or easily. But if you strive to do what’s right, if you work harder and dream bigger, if you set an example in your own lives and do your part to help meet the challenges of our time, then I’m confident that, together, we will continue the never-ending task of perfecting our union."
Joeff Davis
President Obama looks on as Morehouse president Dr. John Silvanus Wilson Jr. presents Obama's Morehouse Honorary degree.
Joeff Davis
President Obama receives his Honorary Morehouse degree.
Joeff Davis
President Obama holds up his Morehouse Honorary degree to the crowd. The degree of "Doctor of Laws," was awarded to Barack Hussein Obama.
2/15
Joeff Davis
Morehouse students wiped down the soaking wet chairs where alumni and graduates would sit during the ceremony.
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