The inclusion of King’s Bible is particularly significant since the inauguration is on Jan. 21, the federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader. King delivered his famous and prophetic “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Obama will face the memorial as he takes the oath. Also, King’s Bible, which his children say he used early in his career as a preacher, has never been part of a presidential inauguration.
Obama was in office when the black Greek fraternity that MLK was a member of, Alpha Phi Alpha, completed the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Alphas could not have foreseen that a black man would be president and lead the unveiling ceremony. They applied for the permit to build the statue of King in the mid-1990s when President Clinton was in office.
The selection of the Lincoln Bible is symbolic of the struggle for equality in America, beginning with Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves 150 years ago and 100 years before the March on Washington led by Dr. King.