First Lady Michelle Obama spoke passionately about the importance of education to the African-American community in a commencement address Friday, urging more than 600 graduates of Bowie State University to honor the school’s history and to pass their commitment to education on to future generations.
In her 15-minute address, the first lady touched on the university’s founding in 1865 to train black teachers; the difficulties confronted by black students after emancipation from slavery and during the civil rights movement; and the sacrifices made by her own parents, who were not college graduates.
Mrs. Obama called out African American youth for not challenging themselves to excel in school while instead fantasizing about being a “baller or a rapper.”
“Today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of Separate But Equal, when it comes to getting an education too many of our young people just can’t be bothered,” Obama said. “Today instead of walking miles every day to school they’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV instead of dreaming of being a teacher or lawyer or business leader they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.”