Entries in Martin Luther King Jr. (4)


Obama Picks Lincoln, MLK Bibles for Inauguration

The Lincoln Bible. US Library of Congress(WASHINGTON) -- On the day of the Inaugural ceremony, President Obama will take the oath of office on two historic Bibles -- one that belonged to Abraham Lincoln and the other to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced on Thursday that the president would swear in on both Bibles, stacking one on top of the other.

King used his Bible “for inspiration and preparing sermons and speeches,” according to the PIC.

“We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible,” Dr. King’s children said in a statement distributed by the PIC.  “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.”

Obama used Lincoln’s Bible for his first Inaugural ceremony in 2009.  It belongs to the Library of Congress.

Photos of the Bible opened to the page signed by Supreme Court Clerk William Thomas Carroll, who gave Lincoln the Bible, are available on the Library of Congress’ blog.  It is 4.5 centimeters thick.

Rare book collector William Reese said the Lincoln Bible is much larger than the King Bible and would have been called a “family Bible” in its time.  Unlike King’s Bible, it would have been too big to carry around.

In the 19th century household, Reese said Bibles like Lincoln’s “often would have been read out loud to the family on Sunday,” whereas the PIC said King’s traveled with him on the road.

The two Bibles would not be historically important, except for their remarkable owners, according to Reese.

“All their significance really stems from these great men,” Reese said.

Obama is not the first president to use more than one Bible at his swearing in, but he is the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower to use one other than a family Bible or one given to him personally during the ceremony for the public.

President Richard Nixon used two family Bibles, open to Isaiah 2:4, for both his Inaugural ceremonies, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.  For Eisenhower’s first Inauguration, he used both his own West Point Bible and George Washington’s Bible.

During a private ceremony on Sunday, Obama will use the Bible that belonged to first lady Michelle Obama’s grandmother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson.

The Robinson family Bible was a present from the first lady’s father to his mother on Mother’s Day in 1958, six years before Michelle’s birth.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obamas Visit Church Ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

(Official White House Photo) Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama and his family attended church services on Sunday, continuing their custom of prayer on each Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The family does not go to church frequently, but has traditionally spent the holiday occasion at historically black places of worship.

This year, President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia visited the Zion Baptist Church in Washington for the first time. Founded in the 1860s, the congregation’s historical commission is dedicated to preserving the history of black Christian culture in the District of Columbia.

After entering and joining the choir and parishioners in a buoyant rendition of “Lord, You Are Good,” the family listened to the pastor, the Rev. Keith Byrd Sr., deliver his sermon. The pastor invoked William Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be” during the ceremony. Byrd told parishioners that was the question King had to answer during a time of social upheaval.

“Be a source of hope,” the reverend told the congregation.

The program was also accompanied by a reading from King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Typically the Obamas do not actively participate in the church services they attend, remaining in the pews. But in 2010, the family attended services at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where the President delivered an address using a pulpit King himself once stood in.

The church’s program books also featured a plea for donations to the Occupy D.C. protest movement. “Warm blankets, sleeping bags, hand and feet warmers” were among the items requested for the movement, which has members camped out in two Washington squares.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obamas Attend Church Service on Eve of MLK Day

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- On the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the first family visited Metropolitan A.M.E. church, just a few blocks away from the White House.  This is the second time the Obamas have visited the predominantly black church, which extended an offer of membership to the first family.

The Metropolitan congregation stood and applauded when President Obama, the first lady and the first daughters took their seats.

The sermon dealt with how God has a plan for all men and women.  God has singled out individuals throughout history to do extraordinary things, Rev. Ronald Braxton told the congregation.  Braxton highlighted the remarkable works performed by Noah, Rosa Parks and Dr. King after they were called to service by God.

Before the sermon, several church leaders acknowledged that the Obamas were in attendance.  One church leader praised the president for his speech last week after the tragic shooting in Tucson.  Another, invited the Obamas to join Metropolitan.  "It would be a good thing if you could join the church," the person said.

Pastor Braxton said Metropolitan has been praying for the president and the first family.

During acknowledgment of birthdays coming up this week, the congregation sang happy birthday to the first lady and others.  Her birthday is Monday.

The first family does not regularly leave the White House for Sunday church service, which critics who question President Obama's faith make a point of reminding the public.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mississippi Governor Clarifies Controversial Civil Rights Comments

Photo Courtesy - JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- A day after Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour sparked criticism with comments he made about his experiences growing up in the south during the civil rights era, he sought to clarify those remarks, calling that period of history a “difficult and painful era.”

“When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there," Barbour said in a statement on Tuesday. "My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”

At issue are comments he made in an interview with the Weekly Standard in which he appeared to downplay the tension of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour told the Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson.

The remarks drew a sharp rebuke from the president of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, members of the left-leaning blogosphere and a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, among others.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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