Biden to deliver Morehouse commencement speech as protests disrupt graduations across country

President Biden will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College on Sunday as protests continue to disrupt graduation ceremonies across the country.

Biden’s speech to the historically black college is an opportunity to shore up his flagging support among black voters ahead of the 2024 election. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that Biden has been working since several days on his speech with senior advisers.

This speech is “an opportunity to rise up and convey an important message to our future leaders,” said Jean-Pierre.

“He has been working on these comments for several days, I can assure you, with his main advisers. He takes this incredibly seriously,” added Jean-Pierre. “It will have to be responded to at the appropriate time. And I think you will hear directly from the president about how he obviously sees the future of this country, as well as the community that he represents.”

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President Biden will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College on Sunday as protests continue to disrupt graduation ceremonies across the country. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This debut comes just days after Biden announced $16 billion in new funding for historically Black colleges and universities across the country. He mentioned Morehouse by name in his remarks about the funding initiative last week.

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“Morehouse was founded after our nation’s Civil War to help prepare formerly enslaved Black Americans to enter the ministry, obtain an education and move them from slavery to freedom,” Biden said . “The founders of Morehouse understood something fundamental. Education is linked to freedom. Because to be free is to have something that no one can ever take away from you.”

Aerial view of Morehouse College campus

President Biden will visit the Morehouse College campus on Sunday. (Elie Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Biden’s appearance comes as anti-Israel protests have taken over campuses across the country. Morehouse itself also experienced its share of troubles. The student body is divided even over Biden’s appearance at graduation. Disgruntled students reportedly attempted to stage a silent protest during Biden’s speech that would see students turn their backs on the president, according to NPR.

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“I think it’s a little insulting that our star alumnus is Dr. King, but Biden went on a tirade about the Middle East,” one student, DeAngelo Fletcher, told the outlet. “Bringing him here – especially in an election year… to get the vote of young black people in particular, it’s pretty insulting.”

President Joe Biden

Biden’s appearance at Morehouse comes as anti-Israel protests have taken over campuses across the country. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Hundreds of Morehouse alumni also signed a letter calling on the college to rescind its invitation to Biden earlier this year. Students and faculty at the university accused Biden of aiding Israel’s “genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza during the war sparked by the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

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