Just before she took the oath of office Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch turned to President Obama, standing next to her.
"This is Frederick Douglass' Bible," she whispered. The president leaned over to get a closer look at the good book.
"That's pretty cool," Obama said.
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) June 17, 2015
Lynch placed her hand on the Bible that once belonged to the African American abolitionist who died in 1895 as she took her oath during her investiture ceremony.
The Bible came from the collection of the National Park Service. Douglass received it from members of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington on Sept. 1, 1889, according to the Park Service. Douglass was leaving for a trip to Haiti, having been appointed by President Benjamin Harrison to serve there as a minister and consul general.
During the ceremony, Lynch thanked her father, the Rev. Lorenzo, a minister, and mother, Lorine, a teacher -- both of whom were on stage -- for overcoming Jim Crow segregation to help set her on a path toward success, and she dedicated the day to them.
And she made a reference to the challenges facing the Justice Department as it seeks to help improve relations between communities and local police departments in the wake of several racially charged incidents across the country in the past year, including the shooting death by police of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.
"As we confront the very nature of our citizens' relationship with those of us entrusted to protect and to serve--these are indeed challenging issues and challenging times," Lynch said.
Lynch, who is African American, follows her predecessor Eric H. Holder Jr., who was the nation's first black attorney general. In his remarks, Obama noted that Lynch was born in segregated Greensboro, N.C., and attended courthouse proceedings in Durham with her father to learn about the effects of segregation in the South.
"The law is her map; justice, her compass," Obama said. "She is tough, but she is fair." He also noted that, although her official swearing in ceremony was Wednesday, Lynch has already made an impact at Justice, having helped direct the indictment of top officials from the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), soccer's international governing body, on corruption charges.
"She’s already made her mark here at home and abroad," Obama said.