LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native, delivered a moving and powerful rendition of her poem "The Hill We Climb" for President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony Wednesday.
"Somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished," Gorman read. "We the successors of a country and a time, where a skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother, can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one."
Her composition also acknowledged the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.
"We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it; would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith, we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us."
She concluded her roughly five-minute reading with a final message: "The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it."
Gorman attended New Roads School, a private K-12 school in Santa Monica. She was selected in 2014 as the first Los Angeles youth poet laureate and in 2017 as the first national youth poet laureate. She graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology.
Gorman has two books forthcoming, including her first children's book, "Change Sings," set to be published in September.
Gorman was the youngest of six poets to perform at a presidential inauguration, continuing an intermittent tradition begun in 1961 when Robert Frost recited "The Gift Outright" at John F. Kennedy's inauguration. The previous youngest was Richard Blanco, who was 44 when he read "One Today" at Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013.
All the inaugural poets have performed at the swearings-in of Democratic presidents.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
for more features.