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angela bassett spelman speech - 2024 Spelman College Commencement Ceremony

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Spelman graduates were in for a surprise this past weekend when Angela Bassett delivered the 137th commencement speech.

The actor and producer spoke words of wisdom to the graduating class of 2024, dropping gems referencing Black women throughout history who not only paved the way, but persevered. She encouraged the new grads to keep their heads up despite the injustices they may face, highlighting the stories of Emmitt Till’s mother Mamie Till, Hattie McDaniel, and her co-honoree, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“I want you to remember that you as a woman and as a Black woman are joining a lineage of our trailblazers whose contributions have made history and have given birth to movements, have brought about peace and justice,” Bassett shared.

Bassett received her bachelor’s degree in African-American studies in 1980 from Yale University, prior to receiving her Master of Fine Arts degree from the same university in 1983. Spelman celebrated Bassett and added to her list of degrees with the presentation of an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Alongside Bassett, Spelman also presented Supreme Court Justice Jackson with an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

Bassett wrapped her speech up with a snippet of Langston Hughes’ “Dreams,” a poem full of hope and wisdom that perfectly fit the occasion.

“Hold fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly,” Bassett recited. “It’s your time to fly.”

Check out the Angela Bassett – Spelman speech below.



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Angela Bassett Delivers Commencement Speech At Spelman College  was originally published on