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Dr. Bethune gains official nomination for Capitol Statue

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Top Choice for Statue in the Capitol.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Top Choice for Statue in the Capitol.

Dr. Bethune gains official nomination for Capitol Statue

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune receives all four committee votes for new statue in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Committee will recommend Dr. Bethune to State Legislation

By Keisha Boyd

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was the only nominee to receive a vote from all four sitting Great Floridians Program committee members at a hearing earlier this morning in Tallahassee.  Dr. Bethune will be recommended to state legislation to replace a statue of Confederate Army General Edmund Kirby Smith, in the U.S. Capitol. After a call to action to remove the confederate statue, the Department of State released a list of recommendations and asked for the public’s input.  Dr. Bethune received the most support with 1,233 votes, superseding 129 other Floridians and notable historians. The other recommended candidates are Marjory Stoneman Douglas (two votes) and George Washington Jenkins (two votes).

Mrs. Daisy Grimes, Dr. Ashley Robertson and Trustee John Rogers attended the hearing to represent B-CU.  Mrs. Grimes spoke to the committee about the legacy of Dr. Bethune and the impact of the university, its alumni and supporters. She also shared Dr. Bethune’s Last Will and Testament. Dr. Robertson provided insight on Dr. Bethune’s qualifications for this honor and shed light on her powerful governmental impact. “This is a great opportunity for the State of Florida to get on the right side of history. We would be the first state to commission such a move to have an African American women included,” says Dr. Robertson. Trustee John Rogers was also on hand to express his support of B-CU and the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was born on a farm near Mayesville, S.C. in 1875.  She was the 15th child of former slaves and rose from humble beginnings to become a world-renowned educator, civil and human rights leader, champion for women and young people, and an advisor to five U.S. presidents.  The dream of opening her own school took Mary McLeod Bethune to Florida, first to Palatka and then to Daytona Beach, where she started the school that would become Bethune-Cookman University.  As she worked to build the school that she founded, she also became a national leader on issues related to civil rights, education, women and young people. She was president of the State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and founded the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). She was appointed to numerous national commissions and eventually became an advisor on minority affairs in the Roosevelt Administration, organizing two national conferences on the problem of Black Americans.       Dr. Bethune enlisted leaders of government and industry to support her vision and dreams for her school in Daytona Beach, for social justice and positive change for all.


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