The former occupants of the White House who selected more than one Bible for the presidential inauguration were: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. While Truman took the oath of office in 1949, Eisenhower was sworn in four years later and Nixon in 1969.
In 2009 when Obama took oath for his first term in office, he placed his left hand on the Bible owned by the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln. This time, he will use the same along with another Bible that belonged to Martin Luther King Jr.
Both Lincoln and King are remembered mainly for spearheading the cause of black people in America. The former ensured freedom to thousands of slaves by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on Sep 22, 1862. The latter successfully advanced the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and early 60s.
Obama's decision to use their Bibles has been welcomed by many. King's children released a statement: "We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the oath of office using his Bible."
The civil rights leader's daughter Bernice disclosed that Martin Luther King Jr always travelled with a King James version of the Bible. She recalled that it was a big source of inspiration for her father.
"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," King's children said.
Obama will pay tribute to the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize laureate by urging Americans to do volunteer work in their neighbourhoods on Jan 19. According to inaugural planners, a float honouring King will be part of the parade that will make its way towards the White House after Obama is sowrn in.