The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that President Obama will take his second oath of office on the Robinson family Bible on Sunday and on the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Bibles on Monday.
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.
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.
Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony. In 2009, President Obama became the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.