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It was America’s Day
In what could be considered a show of gratitude, President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris gave a nod to Black voters at every turn leading up to and during their inauguration ceremonies.
Following his apparent general election victory Biden said, "Especially at those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me," he told a crowd in November. "You've always had my back, and I'll have yours."
Starting with the pre-inauguration memorial service to Covid-19 victims it was clear the inauguration committee set a very deliberate tone. After a devastating year that saw more than 400,000 Americans die from the coronavirus the Lincoln Memorial event was the first time the nation had stopped to acknowledge and honor the loss of their lives. To lead us in prayer, Biden chose Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory. America’s first Black cardinal, Gregory began his religious career in the suburbs of Chicago. Joining Gregory were gospel singer Yolanda Adams, who sang “Hallelujah” and Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse who sang “Amazing Grace.”
On Inauguration Day, a dapper Eugene Goodman was assigned to escort the nation’s first woman vice president through the day's activities. Goodman is the U.S. Capitol police officer who used himself as bait to lure insurrectionists away from Vice President Mike Pence and other senators who were hiding Jan. 6. For his grace under pressure, Goodman has been named the acting deputy sergeant-at-arms.
On her history-making day, Harris chose to wear an ensemble by a Black designer. Christopher John Rogers of Louisiana created the purple dress and coat. Her outfit was accessorized with a pearl necklace as homage to her sorority sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha. The sorority headquartered on Chicago’s South Side is the nation’s oldest Black sorority.
The 49th vice president took the oath of office on two Bibles—one belonging to the first Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Mrs. Regina Shelton, who took care of children after school in her Oakland California neighborhood while their parents worked. Harris has referred to her as a second mother.
The swearing in ceremony ended on two high notes with a poem by Amanda Gorman and benediction by Rev. Sylvester Beaman. The Delaware pastor was a friend to Biden’s late son Beau. The 22-year-old Gorman is the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” left everyone awe struck.
“There is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
The elevation of Black excellence didn’t stop at the “shrine and citadel to liberty and democracy” built by slaves as Rev. Beaman called the Capitol. Once inside, the official “inauguration painting” was on display at a reception. Chosen by incoming first lady, Jill Biden, it was painted by artist Robert S. Duncanson in 1859. “Landscapes With Rainbow” is a hopeful painting that precedes the Civil War.
At that same reception, Maryland Senator Steny Hoyer said he was “proud” and “ecstatic” to witness Biden’s inauguration. The House majority leader went on to quote an excerpt from the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 
Joining Harris at the Inauguration Day parade was the Howard University Marching Band and drum line. A proud Howard alum, Harris never missed an opportunity to extol the historically Black university during the campaign.
We all know that Biden and Harris didn’t oversee the Inauguration Day ceremonies personally, but real change starts at the top. They set the tone. During Biden’s speech, he didn’t shy away from calling out white supremacy—which reportedly is a first for an inaugural address.
The Biden-Harris inauguration was carefully orchestrated to send a message of hope, light and change. 
“A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” said Biden.

The first duty of the newly sworn vice president was to give the oath of office to three new senators--the first Black senator from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock and the youngest senator since Biden, Jon Ossoff. The third senator to take office was Alex Padilla, who fills the seat vacated by Harris. He's the first Latino senator to represent California.

The role of vice president has never been more meaningful than at this time in an evenly divided senate. Biden and Harris are the right people elected at the right time.
Let me be clear, I am not expecting Biden to be the Savior of Black people. If he continues to treat Black people the way we treated him that will be better than most. The fact that he sees us, hears us and acknowledges us is better than what many elected officials do once they get into office. 
Inauguration Day was a great symbolic start. Now, it’s up to us to make sure symbolism turns into substantive policies that carry us across the finish line with the same determination we carried the nation’s oldest president and the first woman vice president. That would be a real show of gratitude.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested a new, and America has risen to the challenge.”
Your donation of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 or more to Ida’s Legacy will ensure more progressive African-American women candidates run for local and state offices.
Thank you,
Delmarie Cobb
Ida’s Legacy Committee

Paid for and authorized by Ida's Legacy Committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board's official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois. Contributions and gifts are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. 
The Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee is not affiliated with the Ida B. Wells family or any other endeavor bearing her name.

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