The 59th inauguration ceremony of US President Joe Biden was, in many ways, historic.
Vice President Kamala Harris became the highest-ranking woman – and woman of colour – in US history, while Mr Biden became the oldest president inaugurated at 78 years old.
It was also the day Amanda Gorman, 22, became the youngest poet to mark the transition of presidential power.
In her poem The Hill We Climb, Gorman offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country that has suffered more than 400,000 coronavirus deaths and ongoing unrest.
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) January 20, 2021
She quoted biblical scripture and echoed the oratory of John F Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, among others.
- To read Amanda Gorman’s poem in full, click here.
Gorman now joins the ranks of previous inaugural poets Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander.
Her spoken word performance didn’t go unnoticed.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 election, praised Gorman for her “stunning” poem and hinted that the young artist will one day run for president.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 20, 2021
Former president Barack Obama weighed in, and American parents across the country hailed her as an example for their children and a symbol of hope for the future.
SHE, IS THEIR FUTURE and THEY, ARE HER FUTURE! WHAT an AMAZING Moment To Witness! HISTORY IN THE MAKING FOR ALL OF US!!❤️ pic.twitter.com/zZoykhwwbQ
— Melissa Smitherman (@melissmitherman) January 20, 2021
Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, was named the Youth Poet Laureate of LA at 16 years old.
In 2017, she was named the first US National Youth Poet Laureate.
On Twitter, she revealed she was wearing a ring with a caged bird – a gift from Oprah – as she recited the poem, “to symbolise Maya Angelou, a previous inaugural poet”.
“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before,” she said.