She took the oath moments before Joe Biden became the 46th president.
Harris has made history throughout her career as the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. Many women, especially women of color described Thursday as one of the greatest moments of their life. It was a celebration for many communities in Philadelphia, including girls.
"Never in my wildest dreams that I would imagine today would come," exclaimed Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake.
Marshall-Blake wore pink and green, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.'s colors, in honor of her fellow sorority sister.
Evelyn Sample Oates, another sorority sister, said Harris is also a good friend. The two met several years ago at a luncheon for Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.
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"When you meet her you would think you would have known her for years and I think a lot of that goes to how her mother raised her," Oates said. "I think a lot of it is her education especially attending a historically Black college."
Harris is the first vice president to attend a historically Black college and university. She graduated from Howard University.
Many students at the William Penn Charter School spoke of Harris being an inspiration for them. Many reflect on the vice president's famous words, "I may be the first, but I won't be the last."
Harris, 56, moves into the vice presidency just four years after she first came to Washington as a senator from California, where she'd served as attorney general and as San Francisco's district attorney. She had expected to work with a White House run by Hillary Clinton, but President Donald Trump's victory quickly scrambled the nation's capital and set the stage for the rise of a new class of Democratic stars.
Harris used two Bibles to take the oath, one that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights icon whom Harris often cites as inspiration, and Regina Shelton, who helped raise Harris during her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. The drumline from Harris' alma mater, Howard University, joined the presidential escort.
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After the ceremony, she and Emhoff escorted former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, out of the Capitol, a gesture that would normally be performed by the incoming and outgoing presidents, but Trump did not attended the inauguration. Harris, Pence and their spouses spoke for several minutes before the Pences departed.
To celebrate the occasion, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the nation's oldest sorority for Black women, which Harris joined at Howard University, declared Wednesday as Soror Kamala D. Harris Day. Members of the sorority watching the celebrations across the country were clad in pearls, as was Harris, and the sorority's pink and green colors.
"There is a pride I can't put into words," said Elizabeth Shelby, a member of the sorority's Alpha Psi chapter, who watched the inauguration from her home in Nashville, Tennessee. "It is such a joy to see her rise to this place in our country. It is such a joy to know that she is one of us, that she represents us."
Biden, in his inaugural address, reflected on the 1913 march for women's suffrage the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, during which some marchers were heckled and attacked.