Morehouse College is struggling to quell a controversy over what role a critic of President Obama will play in this month’s graduation ceremonies, where Obama is scheduled to offer the commencement address.
President John S. Wilson, who headed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities before assuming his academic job in January, changed the baccalaureate address format after the invited speaker, Bright Hope Baptist Church senior pastor Kevin Johnson, published an opinion piece questioning the lack of diversity in Obama’s second-term Cabinet.
Johnson, who is African American, published a piece in the April 14 edition of the Philadelphia Tribune titled, “A President for Everyone, Except Black People.” The essay suggested that Bill Clinton — and to a lesser extent, George W. Bush — had done more to help African Americans as president than Obama.
“When one compares President Obama to his predecessors, the decrease in African-American appointments is astounding,” wrote Johnson, whose church is in Philadelphia. “Obama has not moved African-American leadership forward, but backwards.”