You all know you were doing that. And I can tell you from my own experience just how rewarding it can be to make this kind of work the work of your careers. They have seen every defeat as a challenge. They said that at the ages of 56 and 48, these women were too old. Many were older, in their 30s, 40s and 50s. He undertook an arduous journey North to raise money for the school. I wanted to be on the ground, working with the folks I grew up with.

That legacy is now your inheritance. At a time when many workplaces were filled with not just glass ceilings, but brick walls, this school was urging black women to become doctors, and lawyers, engineers, ambassadors. Sweating through the night in those un-air conditioned freshman dorms. That way, if somebody had planted a car bomb, she had a chance of being injured rather than killed. To connect with the Class of , Obama spoke of her own experience of leaving a high-paying position at a corporate law firm to work, and later become executive director of, a Chicago non-profit that encouraged young people to work in public service. I mean, some of you may have grown up like me, in neighborhoods where few had the chance to go to college, where being teased for doing well in school was a fact of life, where well-meaning, but misguided folks questioned whether a girl with my background could get into a school like Princeton. They could barely afford to keep their doors open.

It has left you each other. This year’s speaker will be Emilie M. That legacy is now your inheritance. Your mission is to find those 11 women wherever in the world your journey may take you.

The sheriff locked the doors against her when she came to visit her clients in jail. And many of you will need that money to help pay off your student loans and support your families. She was always careful to leave soeech door open when she started her car in the morning.


I may never return.

Michelle Obama

Kristen is my right-hand woman. Think about all those anonymous folks who were just barely getting by themselves, but still found a way to support this school. But I woke up every morning with a sense of purpose and possibility. Today more than 8, Teach For America corps members are in the midst of two-year teaching commitments in 39 regions across the country, reaching overstudents.

Over the past four years, you all have been serving your community in every way possible: You also became part of the Spelman story —- a story that began years ago about 10 miles down the road from where we are today. And their first class had just 11 students, many of whom were former slaves.

But these two ladies were unmoved. In a time of black codes and lynching, this school was training African American women to be leaders in education, in the health professions.

Michelle Obama at Spelman College, : The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever : NPR

She has been with me from the very beginning, looking after my girls, taking care of my mom. They pushed you, they believed in you, and they answered calls those late nights, even when you were just calling for money.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here That happens to everyone, including obama, throughout their lives. Obama will inspire more than graduates to also leave their mark on the world when she delivers the commencement address to the Spelman College class of Obama will also receive an honorary degree. But they kept coming.

michelle obamas graduation speech at spelman college

I mean, think about one of my heroines, Marian Wright Edelman, class of — applause — working as a young civil rights lawyer down in Mississippi. Their teachers started with nothing but a couple of Bibles, some notebooks and some michelle.


Remarks by the First Lady at Spelman College Commencement

Those folks never had the chance to get an education themselves — never — but they were determined that other young people would. You have an obligation to see each setback as a challenge and as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I went to work every day feeling excited — applause — because with every young person I inspired, I felt myself becoming inspired. I also want to acknowledge a few people michellle are here in the audience: Back then, the thought of an African American woman learning to read and write was, to so many, laughable at best, an impossibility at worst.

michelle obamas graduation speech at spelman college

And it is vitally important that you all rise to the highest ranks of every industry and of profession. You are part of a glorious sisterhood —- past, present and future. Obama uses her platform to support military speecu, help working women balance career and family, encourage national service, promote the arts and arts education, and foster healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across the country.

And in those early years, they actually rejected an offer to merge with the Atlanta Baptist Seminary, the school that eventually became Morehouse.

So I want to thank Spelman for giving me Kristen. They could barely afford to keep their doors open.