Donations still being accepted for Bethune statue at Capitol

Mary McLeod Bethune
The statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune is projected to be unveiled in 2020.

COMPILED BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman University was chosen in early 2018 to represent Florida in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. 

Area residents rallied together to create a non-profit organization to raise funds for the creation and placement of a commemorative statue of Bethune in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. 

Bethune will become one of 10 women honored in the collection and the first African American woman. 

How to donate 

The Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc., a not-forprofit corporation, has been set up through the collective efforts of the Daytona Beach Community Foundation, Inc. and B-CU as an independent organization to serve as the steward for all funding raised for statue. 

Individual donors and businesses within the Daytona Beach community have collectively raised approximately $380,000 of the $400,000 required to support the commissioning and installation of the statue.

Donations are still being requested for the statue. To donate, send checks payable to the “Daytona Beach Community Foundation” with a notation indicating “MMB Statuary Fund” on the memo line. Send the checks in care of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, 126 East Orange Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32114. 

‘A proud moment’ 

“This is an exciting project and a proud moment for locals in Daytona Beach. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was a shining star internationally, nationally and in Florida. Despite all her fame, she called Daytona Beach her home,’’ said Bob Lloyd, president of the fundraising committee. 

Founding chair and committee advocate Nancy Lohman added, “Dr. Bethune will stand among the greatest Americans in our nation’s capital and will continue to serve as an inspiration for women and especially women of color.” 

Educator, activist, advocate 

The daughter of former slaves, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune became one of the most influential Black educators, civil and women’s rights activists and government officials of the 20th century. Along with founding B-CU, her role as an advisor to President Roosevelt gave African Americans a voice in government. 

“Dr. Bethune was a pioneer who not only championed education but was an advocate for human rights for all sectors of our society,’’ noted Dr. Clifford Porter, Jr., Vice President for Institutional Advancement for B-CU.

“She left a rich legacy for Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, and the state of Florida. She is an example of the best of America,’’ he added. 

Two per state 

The United States Congress created the National Statuary Hall Collection in 1864, allowing each state to display two statues within the Capitol to honor prominent citizens from individual state history that are deemed worthy of national commemoration. 

Sculptor and international artist Nilda Comas has been selected to create the statue, which is expected to be unveiled next year. The fund will cease after the unveiling. 

This Bethune statue will join that of John Gorrie, a physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian, whose statue was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Florida in 1914. Gorrie, who lived in Apalachicola, is considered the father of refrigeration and air-conditioning.

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