SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As millions of people in the United States and beyond watched 22-year-old Amanda Gorman recite original and touching words for the inauguration on Wednesday, one fan was especially proud of the youngest inaugural poet in history.
That fan would be her grandmother, Bertha Gaffney Gorman, watching her granddaughter read for the president and vice president from her Sacramento living room on TV.
"I always knew that she could do this when the opportunity presented. I knew that she could do it. I was just filled with pride for my family, for her family, for her friends and for her," the elder Gorman told Sacramento station, KCRA. "She’s doing what she was sent here to do."
After getting emotional hearing her granddaughter's poem, "The Hill We Climb," Bertha Gorman spent the afternoon proudly showing off pictures of Amanda, her twin sister, Gabrielle, and cousin. She also held up a pillow with the two of them together, which says, "Like Grandmother, like granddaughter."
Bertha Gorman told KCRA that having Amanda speak on such an important day for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was no small feat. She grew up in the segregated South, and her father had little formal education. However, he made sure his children knew just how important it was.
His descendants knew education was important, too.
The Los Angeles resident recently graduated from Harvard University with a degree in sociology. It was there that Amanda Gorman became the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate in April 2017.
Before that, she attended New Roads, a private school in Santa Monica. As a senior, she received a Milken Family Foundation college scholarship.
Amanda Gorman's mother, Joan Wicks, is a teacher.
"This day is very impactful because it’s so historic," Bertha Gorman told KCRA. "I mean, to be with the first Black woman of color who has been elected as the vice president of the United States, I mean that is historical and for her to be a part of that is beyond fantastic."