Amanda Gorman, the first-ever US National Youth Poet Laureate, was the youngest poet to ever read at a presidential inauguration.
The 22-year-old recited her poem The Hill We Climb, with the apt line: “While democracy can be permanently delayed, it can never be permanently denied.”
Her prose summoned images both dire and triumphant – as she told Americans watching at home: “Even as we grieved, we grew.”
Ms Gorman referenced everything from Biblical scripture to Hamilton, and at times echoed the oratory of John F Kennedy and the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.
Biden’s inauguration – follow live updates
But who is she… and what is her story?
Ms Gorman, who is from Los Angeles, describes herself to her 800,000 Instagram followers as a “poet, writer and dreamer”.
More from Joe Biden
Biden inauguration: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks perform at star-studded ceremony
Joe Biden becomes president: 11 things you may have missed during an inauguration like no other
Joe Biden inauguration: How did the 46th president’s speech compare with previous US leaders?
‘#Trumpyourefired’: Twitter trolls Donald Trump on his last day as president
Joe Biden becomes America’s 46th president, declaring: ‘Democracy has prevailed’
Biden’s America – power of the Senate
She says she plans to run for president in 2036.
As a child she battled a speech impediment, but the poet spoke with power, clarity and poise on the steps of the US Capitol on Wednesday – just two weeks after a violent mob laid siege to the seat of America’s government with Confederate flags, pipe bombs and a noose.
In her address, she told the nation, and the world, that Americans could rise above the hatred.
She said: “We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
Raised by her mother, a teacher named Joan Wicks, she has two siblings, including a twin sister who is an activist.
From school in Santa Monica, she went to Harvard and studied sociology.
She was inspired by her studies to become a youth delegate for the United Nations in 2013, after watching a speech by Pakistani Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai – and a year later, was chosen as the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles.
In 2017, she then took the national crown, being named the first US National Youth Poet Laureate.
She became the first youth poet to open the literary season for the Library of Congress, and she has read her poetry on MTV.
It was at the Library of Congress that Ms Gorman caught the eye of Dr Jill Biden, who asked her to write an original poem for her husband’s swearing-in ceremony.
She wrote one piece – and then after the Capitol riots earlier this month, she altered it to include the events because of their huge social and political significance.
Ms Gorman’s art and activism focus on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora.
In one interview she described her upbringing “at this incredibly odd intersection in Los Angeles, where it felt like the black ‘hood met black elegance met white gentrification met Latin culture met wetlands.
“Traversing between these worlds, either to go to a private school in Malibu, or then come back home to my family’s two-bedroom apartment, gave me an appreciation for different cultures and realities, but also made me feel like an outsider.”
She joined the ranks of previous inaugural poets Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander, with her powerful performance at Wednesday’s inauguration.