The main themes in Michelle Obama's Commencement address are education and discrimination, which she often combines to talk about discrimination within the field of education.

Obama uses this combination of the two themes to support her message, but the way she does this is somewhat surprising. She first highlights a contrast between history and the present say to set up this message. In the first half of the speech, she describes previous generations of young African Americans in a historical context, many of whom were willing to risk their lives and endure incredible hardship to achieve access to education: “But despite the risks, understand, students flocked to these schools in droves, often walking as many as eight to ten miles a day to get their education.” (ll. 95-99)

By contrast,...

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