DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The long recognized and celebrated educator, activist, and entrepreneur Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune will be remembered more permanently. Her statue is being unveiled in her hometown on Monday, before traveling to represent Florida in the National Statuary Hall.
What You Need To Know
- Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s marble statue is being unveiled in Daytona Beach
- The Daytona Beach unveiling ceremony will be held Monday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m.
- The masterpiece will be permanently displayed at the National Statuary Hall in February
- Bethune is the first African-American to represent a state in the national hall
- Her statue will replace a Confederate general’s
The excitement has been building in Daytona Beach: Back in July, city and state leaders traveled all the way to Italy for the first unveiling. The statue was carved there, from Michelangelo’s Tuscan cave.
Mayor Derrick Henry went to that special event and toured the mine and looked at the making.
Bethune is the first African-American to represent any state in the National Statuary Hall. Her statue will replace a Confederate general’s.
It is set to be transported for permanent display beginning Feb. 22, but will be on display locally in the months before then.
The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc., explains more on her background. Bethune was born to former slaves; she had humble beginnings but rose from that to become an educator, civil rights activist, and advisor to five US presidents.
In the statue, she is clothed in cap and gown as a nod to her commitment to education.
Henry remarked on how much of an honor it is for his city to be represented saying, “our city cultivated, produced, supported one of America’s greatest citizens from civil rights, to education, to human rights. She is an icon and it casts a bigger light on us.”
Her likeness holds onto a black rose, symbolizing her beliefs to “love thy neighbor” regardless of race, religion, or nationality.
Sculptor Nilda Comas is the first Hispanic mater sculptor chosen for the National Statuary Hall’s state collection.
The Daytona Beach unveiling ceremony will be held Monday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m., at the News-Journal Center.