Mariah Parker was sworn in as Athens-Clarke County’s District 2 Commissioner on Monday, but instead of a Bible or the U.S. Constitution, Parker asked to swear in on a well-worn copy of “The Autobiography Of Malcolm X.”
Parker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “They asked if they would like the Bible and I said no. My mother asked if there was a copy of the Constitution around. No. I wanted Malcolm’s book. I think they saw it coming.”
Mariah Parker takes her oath of office for County Commissioner District 2 w/her hand on the autobiography of Malcolm X and her mother Mattie Parker by her side on the steps of City Hall in downtown Athens, Ga. June 5 https://t.co/VL2mHaj9Sv h/t @elizabethcatte pic:Joshua L. Jones pic.twitter.com/FSA3NGkc59
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) June 6, 2018
Parker stood with her right fist raised and her left hand on the book, which was held by her mother, Mattie Parker.
Admitting that she only finished reading the book last year, Parker said that it had truly resonated. She explained, “Having seen the transformation of someone who came through a difficult background to become vocal and push conversations on race in a radical way is powerful. Then he shifted course and saw race in a different lens as he got older. And the fact that he was arguably killed for his politics. These are things that I want to embrace.”
Parker is a doctoral student in language and literacy education at the University of Georgia.