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The statue of Florida civil rights activist and educator will be transported to the U.S.Capitol. It will stand in the National Statuary Hall Collection and will be the first African American to represent any state in the collection.
WASHINGTON, DC -The statue of educator and civil rights advocate, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, has started her journey to the U.S. Capitol after an unveiling ceremony in Pietrasanta, Italy, on Saturday (July 10), the anniversary of her birth.
Dr. Bethune will represent the state of Florida in the National Statuary Hall Collection and will be the first African American to represent any state in the collection, said U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. Dr. Bethune takes the place of an obscure confederate general who has represented Florida in the state collection since 1922. Dr. Bethune also will be one of only a few women to represent a state in the 100-statue collection.
In attendance at the ceremony with Rep. Castor were master sculptor Nilda Comas, Pietrasanta Mayor Alberto Stefano Giovannetti, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. Hiram Powell, Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Committee Chair Nancy Lohman, and many proud alumni and friends. Comas, who lives and works in both Fort Lauderdale and Pietrasanta carved the historic statue from the same marble quarry that Michelangelo used to sculpt David and the Pietà more than 500 years ago. Comas will be the first Hispanic female artist to sculpt a statue for the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Castor has championed the selection of Dr. Bethune and removal of Florida’s Jim Crow-era statue from Statuary Hall for years and said she is thrilled to have shepherded the effort through the remarkable unveiling ceremony.
“The citizens of thesState of Florida can take great pride in being represented by the great educator and civil rights icon, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Her legacy and the sculpture will provide a symbol of unity, hope and reconciliation in a state and a country that continues to grapple with racial justice and equal rights for all. My heart swelled with pride as we unveiled the iconic statue of Dr. Bethune in front of Pietrasanta City Hall with music, a blessing and inspirational speeches paying tribute to Dr. Bethune’s legacy,” Castor said.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF U.S. REP. KATHY CASTOR.
Kathy Castor | Mary McLeod Bethune | Tampabay News
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Statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Unveiled in Italy | Tampa Bay Reporter
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