John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images

President Barack Obama subtly embraced the legacy of the civil rights movement simply through the selection of the two Bibles used during his swearing-in ceremony, Michael H. Cottman writes at BlackAmericaWeb.

When Obama is publicly sworn-in on Monday as America's 45th president, he will place his right hand on two weather-worn Bibles — one owned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other by Abraham Lincoln — and recite the oath of office. King carried his Bible during the civil rights movement and Lincoln used his Bible during his first inauguration in 1861.

It's no coincidence that these Bibles collectively symbolize more than a century of racial evolution — it's the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington led by King and the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, where more than three million black people were freed from slavery.

And Monday is also the official federal holiday to honor King's life and his contributions to America.  King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial.

"Two figures that I admire probably more than anyone in American history are Dr. King and President Lincoln," Obama said in a video released by the White House. "So for me to have the opportunity to be sworn in using the Bibles of these two men that I admire so deeply — and on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington — is fitting because their actions … is the only reason it's possible for me to be inaugurated."


Read Michael H. Cottman's entire piece at BlackAmericaWeb.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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