Biden’s upcoming graduation speech roils Morehouse College, a center of Black politics and culture

ATLANTA — When he gives the commencement address at Morehouse College, President Joe Biden will have his most direct engagement with college students since the start of the Israel-Hamas war at a center of Black politics and culture.

Morehouse is located in Atlanta, the largest city in the swing state of Georgia, which Biden flipped from former President Donald Trump four years ago. Biden’s speech Sunday will come as he tries to make inroads with a key and symbolic constituency — young Black men — and repair the diverse coalition that elected him to the White House.

The announcement of the speech last month triggered peaceful protests and calls for the university administration to cancel over Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. Some students at Morehouse and other historically Black campuses in Atlanta say they vociferously oppose Biden and the decision to have him speak, mirroring the tension Biden faces in many communities of color and with young voters nationally.

Morehouse President David Thomas said in an interview that the emotions around the speech made it all the more important that Biden speak.

“In many ways, these are the moments Morehouse was born for,” he said. “We

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