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Donovan Livingston's poem at Harvard University Graduate School of Education's commencement dubbed 'most powerful' speech

Donovan Livingston's commencement remarks at Harvard University Graduate

Donovan Livingston's commencement remarks at Harvard University Graduate School of Education's graduation is "one of the most powerful" student speeches ever, the school says. Credit: Facebook / Harvard Graduate School of Education

Donovan Livingston didn't expect his speech at Harvard University Graduate School of Education's convocation to go viral.

On May 25, Livingston spoke to fellow Class of 2016 graduates with his "most authentic voice" -- through a spoken word poem that Harvard University coins "one of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches you will ever hear."

"At the core, none of us were meant to be common," Livingston says in his poem. "We were born to be comets, darting across space and time — leaving our mark as we crash into everything."

Livingston had been prevented from performing a poem in his commencement remarks during his senior year of high school, which inspired him to incorporate a spoken word poem into his speech upon graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. The piece focused on racial inequalities in the education system and what it means to be black at Harvard.

“I’ve been a black hole in the classroom for far too long, absorbing everything without allowing my light to escape. But those days are done. I belong among the stars,” Livingston says, before encouraging listeners to inspire others in turn and “lift off.”

His speech has been viewed by over 9 million people on Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Facebook page, and shared by Justin Timberlake and Hillary Clinton.

"I didn't know it would be so well-received," Livingston told ABC News. "Whenever you put yourself out there, especially with poetry, you're making yourself vulnerable. However it was received, I would've felt great at the end of the day because I was being myself, but the fact that it blew up the way it did is a humbling experience."

Livingston's after-graduation plans include supporting his wife Lauren through her second year of medical school at Wake Forest University while starting his PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, according to ABC News. He aspires to eventually become a faculty member or an administrator at a university.

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