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President Biden to deliver 140th commencement at Morehouse, where he will receive an honorary doctorate

Morehouse College will also celebrate a list of noteworthy alumni anniversaries, including for activist Martin Luther King III, director Spike Lee and actor Brian Tyree Henry.
Joe Biden, when he was vice president, speaks at Morehouse College in Atlanta
Posted at 8:40 PM, May 16, 2024

President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver Morehouse College's 140th commencement in Atlanta, Ga. on Sunday May 19th.

The president has spoken before students, staff and faculty at the historically Black college before, including when he was vice president in 2015, when he went to raise awareness for sexual assault on college campuses.

But this time, the president's address comes as campuses across the United States have contended with student bodies and activists displeased with his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas and the mounting civilian casualties amid the military onslaught in Gaza.

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The campus protests included calls for Morehouse administration officials to cancel the president's commencement visit.

Morehouse College confirmed President Biden's visit in late April, and hasn't made any changes to that plan. The university said it will also honor a list of notable alumni anniversaries during the commencement including for activist Martin Luther King III, who graduated in 1979; for award-winning producer and director Spike Lee, who also graduated in 1979; and for acclaimed actor Brian Tyree Henry, who graduated in 1999.

Reports have mentioned how the president— who is running for a second term in the White House in November — has faced disapproval among many communities of color as the war in Gaza carries on. If the conflict continues, it will hit its one year mark just before voters head to the ballot box in November.

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Rep. Ro Khanna of California spoke to a group in Dearborn, Michigan along with other Arab American leaders in February about how they have been personally affected by the conflict. Scripps News Detroit reported on how there has been a push for some Democrats to vote uncommitted in protest over the ongoing war.

Last year, President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday, and is the oldest sitting president in U.S. history. A February poll from NBC said 70% of voters believe the president should not run again for the White House.