— During his first out-of-state commencement address, Governor Wes Moore this morning delivered a powerful keynote speech to the 2023 graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
In front of more than 400 young men, alumni, faculty, and guests, Governor Moore underscored how knowledge of history leads to knowledge of one's own power. The governor focused on the power of history to inspire strength and instill wisdom – and warned the graduating class to guard against those who seek to erase history. Excerpts from Governor Moore’s speech as delivered:“Men of Morehouse: I stand before you as the first Black governor of my state and only the third Black governor ever elected in our nation's history with a simple message: Our history is our power! I have come to tell you that you must hold this history close – because life will test you, and when it does, your history will give you the power to meet the challenge.”“When politicians ban books and muzzle educators, they say it’s an effort to prevent “discomfort and guilt” – but we know that’s not true. This is not about fear of making people feel bad. This is about fear of people understanding their power. This is about fear of you realizing that you come from a long line of titans – and visionaries – and dreamers – and pioneers – people who defied the odds and helped build this nation with their hands, their hearts, and their minds!”
“I can think of few greater threats to our nation than this threat to our history – a threat that will have lasting consequences. Not only because those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it – but because those who do not learn their past will never know their own power.”“Surround your life with emblems of our past, knowing it isn’t enough to be a passive recipient of history. You must be an active custodian.”“Choose to confront the ugliness of our past without fear. Choose to confront the hardship of our present without hesitation. Choose to move the earth by the power of your own hand and the power of your own will – holding close the stories of those who came before, because those stories will make you invincible.”
During commencement, Governor Moore received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the college. The governor ended his speech by calling on the graduating class to fill their lives with the study of history and use that knowledge to make history of their own.
Founded in 1867, Morehouse College is one of the most distinguished and distinguishable universities in the United States, known as the premier institution in educating black men. Graduates of Morehouse College include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee.