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Obama to use Bible from first lady’s family for White House swearing-in

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 9:26 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama is sworn in at the White House on Jan. 20, he will place his hand on a Bible from Chicago, one the first lady’s father gave his mother as a gift in the 1950s, inauguration officials said Thursday.

What officials called the Robinson Family Bible was a Mother’s Day present in 1958 from Fraser Robinson III to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, the officials said.

The late grandmother of first lady Michelle Obama was the first African-American manager of a Moody Bible Institute bookstore and turned to the Bible regularly, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

LaVaughn Delores Robinson, a Baptist, was “quite scholarly when it came to Scripture,” the first lady’s brother, Craig Robinson, wrote in his 2010 book, “A Game of Character.”

She was born in 1915 in Chicago and died in 2002 in Bellwood, Ill., according to Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist who has studied the heritage of Michelle Obama, whose middle name is LaVaughn.

LaVaughn Robinson worked at a few Moody Bible Institute locations in Chicago.

The official swearing-in, on a Sunday, will precede the large-scale, oath-taking ceremony at the Capitol the next day, when President Obama will use two other Bibles, one atop the other.

He’ll turn to the Lincoln Bible, as he did in 2009, when he became the first president to use that Bible since President Abraham Lincoln did so for his swearing-in March 4, 1861. Obama also will use a Bible that was the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “traveling Bible,” used to prepare sermons and speeches. The Jan. 21 swearing-in falls on Martin Luther King Day.

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