Barack Obama, in a soaring commencement address on work, sacrifice and opportunity, has told graduates of the historically black Morehouse College to seize the power of their example as black men graduating from college and use it to improve people´s lives.
The president said his success was due to "the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn´t have the opportunities that I had – because there but for the grace of God, go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.´´
Obama used the speech to once again share his personal story of growing up without a father, confessing that along the way he made unspecified bad personal choices “like too many men in our community.´´
He told the graduates to pay attention to their families, saying success in every other aspect of life means nothing without success at home.
"I was raised by a heroic single mother and wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And I know there are moms and grandparents here today who did the same thing for all of you," he said. "But I still wish I had a father who was not only present, but involved. And so my whole life, I´ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn´t for my mother and me. I´ve tried to be a better husband, a better father, and a better man.´´
The speech was Obama´s second commencement address of the season, following remarks last week at Ohio State University in Columbus. His third and final graduation address is on Friday at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
About 500 students received undergraduate degrees and became "Morehouse Men."
After the speech, Obama joined about 100 people at the office of the foundation of Arthur M.. Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team. Donors paid anywhere from $10,000 to $32,400 per couple to attend the fundraiser.