Barack Obama | Martin Luther King, Jr. | News

King's Message to Resonate Over Obama Inauguration

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy and message, celebrated on this day, will be inescapable as President Obama uses King's Bible to take the oath of office:

King_obamaThe King Bible will be stacked on top of the Lincoln Bible for the ceremonial event, according to inaugural planners. Obama will place his left hand on the bibles held by first lady Michelle Obama as he raises his right hand to repeat the oath administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

King's children said they were honored to see the bible used for the first time as part of a presidential inauguration.

“We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible,” the King family said in a statement. “His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term."

With that connection come expectations, the NYT notes:

African-Americans remain overwhelmingly supportive of the president, as evidenced by their enthusiastic turnout on Election Day and for the inauguration festivities and Monday’s holiday celebrating Dr. King’s birthday. Thousands of black Americans have descended on Washington from across the nation for the many parties and observances and visits to the King memorial.

They have developed a protective stance toward Mr. Obama, acknowledging the limits of his power and the voraciousness of his critics. Many cite the power of representation, the visual message of a prosperous, cohesive black family being beamed around the country and the world, and the untold aspirations that vision inspires.

But African-Americans roundly reject the notion that Mr. Obama’s election has eased racial tensions or delivered the nation to a new post-racial reality.

Meanwhile, the AP looks at King's quote, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.":

Bernice King says her father is asking us "to get to a place — we're obviously not there — but to get to a place where the first thing that we utilize as a measurement is not someone's external designation, but it really is trying to look beyond that into the substance of a person in making certain decisions, to rid ourselves of those kinds of prejudices and biases that we often bring to decisions that we make."

That takes a lot of "psychological work," she says, adding, "He's really challenging us."

Below, the Obama family at the King Memorial in D.C. before its official opening in October 2011.

(Official White House photos by Pete Souza)


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    Posted by: Trentin Queerentino | Jan 21, 2013 3:29:27 AM

  2. King's message - "I have a dream."

    Obama's message - "I have a drone."

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Jan 21, 2013 4:19:48 AM

  3. As if the 2nd innauguration of "The First Gay President" isn't enough (!!!), MLK Day in itself should be a big LGBT holiday as we share similar struggles for equality, many of us in both orientation & race.

    Get your big day started with some good vibes...

    Soaking it all in from the Caribbean --Peace!

    Posted by: castaway | Jan 21, 2013 7:11:45 AM

  4. Serious question...this is not a troll question:

    Whay would MLK think of the 70% + black out of wedlock birthrate [higher in some cities], the endless cycle of welfare, public housing, social services, violent crime including black on black violent crime, gangsta rap, ghetto swagga, poor educational attainment, etc., in especially the so-called black community... all a half century after the civil rights laws were passed and LBJ's Great Society? What would the many people black and non-black who fought in the 1960s civil rights movement think of how everything turned out a half century later? Is it OK to mention the obvious on this occasion? Our do we just continue with the facade and status quo, because a few 'professionals' are heavily invested in maintaining the status quo and the pure as snow civil rights legacy?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 21, 2013 12:14:47 PM

  5. Watch it Perdue!! You'll be ostracized by the 'progressive' gay community with talk like that.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 21, 2013 12:17:22 PM

  6. @Ratbastard,

    Dr King would say, "How the hell does the President stay so slim?"

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 21, 2013 1:05:48 PM

  7. Well the rumors are Derrick that in the president's youth he was no stranger to stuff stronger than cannabis. Ditto the previous president. I believe both rumors. But the man is showing his age. The job seems to rapidly age all of the white house occupants.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 21, 2013 1:10:50 PM

  8. Shout out to Bayard Rustin...

    Posted by: Thomas | Jan 21, 2013 2:16:54 PM

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