Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Inauguration: President Obama To Be Sworn In With Historic Lincoln And King Bibles

President will use Robinson family Bible for private swearing-in ceremony...
President Obama will use three different Bibles when he takes the oath of office for his second term, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced today.  He will use a Robinson family Bible owned by First Lady Michelle Obama's grandmother during the private ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 20.  On Monday, January 21 at the US Capitol, the President will use the Bible owned by President Abraham Lincoln, which he used at his first Inauguration in 2009.  He will also use Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "traveling" Bible.  (Above: In 2009 Mrs. Obama held the Lincoln Bible as Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath of office)

The second swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21 coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies,” said Steve Kerrigan, President and CEO of the PIC. “On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation."

In 2009, President Obama became the first President sworn in using the gilded-paged,  burgundy velvet-bound Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.  Dr. King's "traveling" Bible was "used for inspiration and preparing sermons and speeches," including during his time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, the Committee said.  

The Robinson family bible for the private ceremony was "selected specifically for the occasion," the Committee said.  Mrs. Obama's father, Fraser Robinson III, gave the Bible his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958.  Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore in Chicago "and she used the Bible regularly."

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., will administer the oath of office for President Obama at both ceremonies, as he did at the first inaugural.

“I will be honored to again stand on the Inaugural platform and take part in this important American tradition,” said President Obama. “I look forward to having Chief Justice John Roberts administer my oath of office as we gather to celebrate not just a president or vice president, but the strength and determination of the American people.”

For both ceremonies, Vice President Joseph Biden will use a family Bible dating to 1893 that he used for his previous swearing-in ceremonies for the Vice Presidency and for the Senate.  Biden has Irish roots, and the five-inch-thick Bible features a Celtic Cross on the cover.  Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office at both ceremonies.

Information on the Bibles, from the PIC:

The Lincoln Bible is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court, for use during Lincoln’s swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861. The Bible itself is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim around the three outside edges of both covers, and all of its edges are heavily gilded.

The King Bible was Dr. King’s "traveling bible." An avid reader who was constantly on the road, Dr. King typically traveled with a selection of books that included this Bible. It was used for inspiration and preparing sermons and speeches, including during Dr. King’s time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.

"We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible,” Dr. King’s children said today. “His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term. With the Inauguration less than two weeks away, we join Americans across the country in embracing this opportunity to celebrate how far we have come, honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through service, and rededicate ourselves to the work ahead."

The Biden Family Bible, which is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893. He used it every time he was sworn in as a US Senator and when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general.

"For decades, the Vice President’s bible has been part of our country’s history," Kerrigan said. "It will continue to serve not just the Biden family, but the American people as well."


*The menu and recipes for the President's Inaugural Luncheon ARE HERE.

*AP photo