Donovan Livingston has inspired the Internet with his powerful graduation speech, and quite possibly, the world.
Delivered in front of Harvard University School of Education’s Class of 2016, Livingston–overcome with emotions and jitters–told a tale of when he was tasked to give the commencement speech at his high school years prior, and his English teacher threatened to cut him from the program for similarly reciting a poem instead of a traditional speech.
Now, it appears as if Livingston’s spoken word poems have had the final laugh. Nearly eight million people have watched the address since the original oration Thursday (May 26) and the video, posted to Harvard’s Facebook page, has received 185,000 shares and 8,000 comments including David McClain’s “So how long before we vote this guy into the White House?” (which earned 5,606 likes)
Seriously tho, I’m overwhelmed by this outpour of support!! Thank y’all for the love!! And thank you #HGSE for creating the space!!
— Donovan Livingston (@DLive87) May 27, 2016
Livingston, who is reportedly now a social science’s research assistant at the school, opened his speech with education reformer Horace Mann: “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin. Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” And from there, proceeds to speak fearlessly about being a black man in America lustful for education and the opportunity it affords, but denied the chance because of racism.
Watch Livingston’s powerful speech below.