First Lady Michelle Obama Tells Graduates Not to Fear Discussions About Race

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Michelle Obama teaches graduates not to fear discussions about race and racism at a speech about Brown vs Board of Education.


Reported by Dr. Sinclair Grey III

Sixty years ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that changed America’s educational institution. The decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation within the school system. “The court decided unanimously on May 15, 1954 that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal and were a violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

While there have been significant strides after this historic decision, the truth of the matter is that many schools are still as segregated as they were about sixty years ago. Even looking at schools whereby you have integration, a closer look at the student population will show students who are of different ethnicities and backgrounds sitting together and in many cases separating themselves from other groups.

Marking the 60th Anniversary of the decision, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to seniors at a high school in Topeka, Kansas saying that ‘by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech.’ Instead of talking about diversity in America, First Lady Obama used this platform to discuss race.

Obama’s speech was initially scheduled for Saturday to five schools (combined) but was later rescheduled over concerns that the venue couldn’t accommodate students, family, and friends. In attendance on Friday was Kathleen Sebelius, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary.

In her speech, Obama called the graduating class, ‘the living, breathing legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education.’ In addition to this, she went to say, ‘while that case was handed down 60 years ago, Brown is still being decided every single day – not just in our courts and schools, but in how we live our lives. Graduates, it’s up to all of you to lead the way and drag my generation and you grandparents’ generation along with you.’

The issue of school equality must always be address. There are still too many people of color lacking the necessary resources to compete in this global world. It’s one thing to talk about integration; it’s another thing to witness it.

Obama, throughout her speech, spoke of her experience attending school on the South Side of Chicago, which didn’t really integrate until 1975. Because of her upbringing, she told the students that diversity in education has helped her tremendously in her professional career as well as her personal life.

In concluding her speech to the students, Obama encouraged them to push back against racism and to never be afraid to talk about race.


Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, writer, activist, published author of (5) books, life coach, and liberator of persons from all intellectual, social and cultural walks of life. He is a committed advocate for change. Email: Follow on Twitter @drsinclairgrey. Visit his website: