Biden delivers commencement address at Morehouse College graduation

Joe Biden spoke to Morehouse College graduates during a commencement ceremony on Sunday 19 May.

Israel’s invasion of Gaza in response to the 7 October Hamas attack, youth discontent with the Democratic incumbent and a close 2024 race have contributed to an unusually high profile for what in other years and on other campuses is normally a platitude-laden speech of encouragement for new graduates.

This year, Mr Biden tried for buzz-worthy, breakthrough moments to sell his vision to jaded voters who approve of his policies but are not sold on the 81-year-old candidate himself.

Campaign officials have flagged signs of diminished enthusiasm among younger Black men in particular.

Mr Biden worked with senior aides on his speech for Morehouse, the men’s college founded in 1867 to educate Black people newly liberated from slavery, and whose alumni includes the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

The US president has lavished attention on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), directed billions in extra funding to them and praised them as tools of enhanced economic mobility.