The Bible featured prominently in the inauguration. In fact, three were used in the swearing-in ceremonies – Kamala Harris used both Thurgood Marshall’s and one belonging to a friend; Joseph Biden used a 128-year-old family Bible.

Jill Biden holds the Bible as Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021. Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

Kamala Harris, 56 was sworn in as the 49th vice president of the United States today by associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor using two Bibles that hold great personal significance for her. On Tuesday Harris tweeted, “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in one.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Kamala Harris is sworn as U.S. Vice President by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Harris used two Bibles in the ceremony. The first belonged to Regina Shelton, a family friend whom Harris viewed as a surrogate mother. Harris has used this Bible before, when she took the oath of office as both California attorney general and U.S. senator. The second Bible was previously owned by the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the Supreme Court and Harris’ lifelong political role model.

The second Bible belongs to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice, who served on the court from 1967 until his death in 1993. As a founder and lawyer of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Marshall argued many cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark 1955 Brown v. Board of Education. In Brown, the court first held that the long-held principle of “separate but equal” education for black and white students was unconstitutional. The decision laid the groundwork for, among other things, court-mandated busing to desegregate schools, something a young Kamala Harris would have personal experience of.

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