Atlantans can claim special pride in the 2013 Inauguration festivities for President Barack H. Obama.
While many of us will scan the Inaugural Parade for Georgia State University’s Marching Band, we can already glow with pride in the knowledge that the presence of legendary Civil Rights leader and Atlanta son Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was felt in a unique and honored way today.
This year, Inauguration Day falls on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. To honor the Civil Rights leader, Reverend, and Philosopher, and his vision of a united nation and the “Beloved Community”, President Barack Obama called for the Nation Day of Service, which he instituted with the events of his first inauguration in 2009, to occur on Saturday, January 19th. Around the country, thousands served their neighbors and assisted the less fortunate in honor of the memory of Dr. King.
In this 2013 inauguration of the president, a year that marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, President Obama took the presidential oath with his hand atop two bibles. One was President Abraham Lincoln’s burgundy velvet Inaugural Bible. More on Lincoln’s bible Here.
The other was Dr. King’s “traveling bible”. Dr. King carried the bible on the road as he traveled from city to city as a Freedom Fighter in the Civil Rights struggle. This is the second time the President has made a historic bible choice – Obama “resurrected” the Lincoln bible in 2009, as no President had utilized the bible since that President Lincoln’s 1861 inauguration.
Dr. King’s bluish leather-bound bible, the well-worn, marked and highlighted volume loaned from the collection of Atlanta’s King Center, is truly a “preachers bible”. And both of the texts have special meaning for President, according to a video issued by The White House for the occasion.
“…Their actions, the movements they represented, are the only reason it’s possible for me to be inaugurated,” said President Obama.
The legacy of the Civil Rights struggle was actively honored today in a number of ways. Activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, journalist, former NAACP Chair, and the wife of slain Civil Rights activist and Mississippi NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers, delivered the Inaugural Invocation. She was the first woman and the first layperson in history to do so.
Today, not far from where the King Monument has been erected on the greater National Mall, a President made history and paid homage to Dr. King's sacrifice.
On this year's "MLK Day," falling significantly on the second inauguration of the first African American president in United States History, Dr. King’s Dream still lives.