Dr. Bethune statue to be unveiled in Statuary Hall on July 13

By Andreas Butler

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s statue will finally be on display this month in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. An unveiling ceremony is set for Wednesday, July 13, at 11 a.m.

The event will be streamed live at www.speaker.gov/live.

“This is one of the most important weeks in our state’s history and in the history of our country. I am so proud that the great State of Florida is becoming greater on July 13, 2022. I am excited about her statue and all the symbolism it represents teachable moments for our children, students and our community,” Nancy Lohman, chair of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, told the Florida Courier.

“Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was an accomplished Floridian whose efforts as an influential leader, educator and civil rights activist made her one of our nation’s most notable figures. Dr. McLeod Bethune’s statue will represent the best of who we are as Floridians.”

Watch parties planned

Dr. Bethune was the founder of what is now Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) in Daytona Beach. She also was a philanthropist, civil rights activist and humanitarian.

The university is hosting a watch event starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, 698 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.

B-CU alumni chapters also are hosting watching parties nationwide.

The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune National Alumni Association Volusia County chapter is hosting a watch party starting at 9 a.m. at the Beaches Entertainment Eatery at 301 E. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach.

WESH 2 TV station also will air the event live and stream it on their website www.wesh.com.

Statuary Hall history

Dr. Bethune’s family is just as proud about the honor.

Her great-grandson, Charles Bethune, told the Courier, “We are just humbled that she is being honored. It’s overdue. The things that she wase able to accomplish as a Black woman during her lifetime and during those times was just unheard of.”

The marble statue is 11 feet tall and depicts Bethune in cap and gown with books in one hand and a black rose in the other.

It was created by world-renowned sculptor Nilda Comas in Pietrasanta, Italy. Comas secured the last marble that weighed 11,500 tons out of Michaelangelo’s cave in the Alps.

Dr. Bethune will make history as the first Black to have a statue in Statuary Hall.

She is one of two representatives from Florida along with John Gorrie, who is credited for creating air conditioning. Dr. Bethune’s statue replaces the one of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, whose statue was removed in September 2021.

Dr. Bethune also served in the federal government and was the highest ranking African American official in government when she served as the director of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. She also was a friend of his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt.

She founded the National Council of Negro Women, was on the founding conference of the United Nations, and served as national vice president of the NAACP.

Overwhelming support

The initial vote in the Florida House of Representatives for the statue of Dr. Bethune was 111-1 back in 2018.

The legislation was first initiated by then-Florida House of Representative Patrick Henry and Florida State Senator Perry Thurston.

U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor pushed legislation at the federal level.

The statue was completed and first revealed in Pietrasanta, Italy in July 2021. It arrived in Daytona Beach in October 2021 and was displayed at the News Journal Center from October to December 2021.

A smaller bronze statue of Bethune will be unveiled in Bethune Plaza at Riverfront Esplanade Park at the corner of Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and Beach Street on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m.

Funds for the statue were raised by the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund; the Daytona Beach Community Foundation, Inc.; and several community businesses and individual donors.

Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top