Nightly News   |  May 17, 2013

Michelle Obama’s powerful message to graduates

In an emotionally charged speech to students at Bowie State University, a historically black college in Maryland, First Lady Michelle Obama urged students to dream big and “reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white.” NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> first lady michelle obama had a few things to say about the importance of getting a good education and living a productive life today. she gave the commencement speech in maryland at one of the oldest historically black universities founded a few months before the end of the civil war . it was clear the first lady was there not just to inspire her audience but to deliver a message and challenge those graduates.

>> when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can't be bothered. today, instead of walking miles every day to school they are sitting on couches for hours playing video games , watching tv . instead of dreaming of being a teacher, a lawyer, a business leader, they are fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. right now -- right now one in three african-american students are dropping out of high school . only one in five african-americans between 25 and 29 has a college degree . one in five. let's be very clear. today, getting an education is as important, if not more important, than it was back when this university was founded. as my husband has said often, please stand up and reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white. reject that. [ cheers and applause ] in short, be an example of excellence for the next generation. and do everything you can to help them understand the power and purpose of a good education.