President Obama gave a commencement address to the mostly black Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday where he told students "as an African American you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by."
Obama said that many young black men make "bad choices," including himself during his younger years, noted the Washington Post.
“Growing up, I made quite a few myself,” Obama said. “Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency to make excuses for me not doing the right thing... We’ve got no time for excuses.”
“There but for the grace of God, I might be in their shoes,”Obama said during his 32-minute address. “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.”
“My whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me. I want to break that cycle, where a father’s not at home, where a father’s not helping to raise that son and daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.”
According to RealClearPolitics.com, Obama recalled civil rights leaders of the past, including Martin Luther King Jr, who was a graduate of Morehouse College.
"You are the mantle of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington and Ralph Bunche and Langston Hughes and George Washington Carver and Ralph Abernathy and Thurgood Marshall and, yes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," said Obama.
"These men were many things to many people and they knew full well the role that racism played in their life. But when it came to their own accomplishments and sense of purpose, they had no time for excuses. Every one of you has a grandma or an uncle or a parent whose told you at some point in life as an African American you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by."