After Criticism, White House Moves Michelle Obama Graduation Speech

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Michelle Obama will no longer deliver a high school commencement speech on the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas.

The first lady will instead address graduates a day earlier, on May 16, at a "Senior Recognition Day," the White House announced Thursday afternoon.

The new date comes after a public outcry from some parents and students in Topeka, who said her speech might politicize their graduation ceremony and limit their ability to invite friends and family to the event. Obama had been scheduled to speak at a joint graduation ceremony for all five of the area's high schools.


She is still expected to make note of the Brown v. Board case, which was decided 60 years ago and essentially outlawed segregation, although the first lady does not typically deliver overtly political speeches.

"The remarks will celebrate the achievements of the graduating class of high school seniors in Topeka, home of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year," read a statement from the White House.

The first lady's office and the Topeka school district did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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