Biden to Graduates of Traditionally Black Howard College: US Historical past Hasn’t Been a ‘Fairy Story’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday informed graduates of a leading historically Black university that American historical past “has not at all times been a fairy story” and that “racism has lengthy torn us aside.” However on the nation’s finest days, he mentioned “sufficient of us have the center and the guts to face up for the most effective in us.”

As Biden spoke, greater than a dozen cap-and-gowned Howard College college students stood with their backs to him holding handmade indicators in silent protest over what they mentioned have been many types of white supremacist violence.

Hate “by no means goes away” and “silence is complicity,” Biden mentioned.

“We all know that American historical past has not at all times been a fairy story,” Biden mentioned, describing a continuing “push and pull” between the concept that in any respect individuals are created equal and “the cruel actuality that racism has lengthy torn us aside.”

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”However on the most effective days sufficient of us have the center and the hearts to face up for the most effective in us,” he continued. “To decide on love over hate, unity over disunion, progress over retreat.”

Biden, who not too long ago introduced that he’s operating for a second time period in 2024, mentioned he got here to Howard to “proceed the work to redeem the soul of this nation,” which was a theme of his 2020 marketing campaign.

He informed the graduates they feed his optimism for the longer term.

“You are a part of probably the most gifted, tolerant, gifted, best-educated era in American historical past. That is a reality,” he mentioned. “And it is your era, greater than anybody else’s, who will reply the questions for America: Who’re we, what will we stand for, what will we consider, what will we wish to be.”

It was unclear whether or not Biden was conscious that a number of college students had turned their backs as they held handmade indicators protesting a number of the injustices he talked about in his speech. One signal named Jordan Neely, the New York Metropolis subway performer who died Could 1 after he was restrained in a chokehold by one other passenger.

The passenger, Daniel Penny, 24, a former Marine, surrendered to police on Friday to face a manslaughter cost. He was freed pending trial.

“We as graduates stand united for change, for Black Lives globally,” the scholars mentioned in an announcement. The White Home had no remark.

Biden spoke after he was awarded an honorary Physician of Letters diploma.

The speech at Howard was the primary of two graduation addresses Biden will ship this 12 months. He’s scheduled to deal with graduates of the U.S. Air Pressure Academy in Colorado on June 1.

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