Barack Obama to take oath on Bibles used by Lincoln, Martin Luther Jr

Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has selected historical bibles including those used by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King for his swearing in ceremonies later this month.

On January 20, Obama will take the oath of office, at a private ceremony, using a Bible of Michelle Obama's family.

For the ceremonial inauguration on January 21, Obama will take the oath of office using two Bibles: the Bible used by President Lincoln at his first Inauguration, which Obama used in 2009, and a Bible used by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) said.

"President Obama is honoured 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," he said.

Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance.

In 2009, President Obama became the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.

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," PIC said.

Part of the collections of the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Bible and 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.

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