THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed a bill into law that calls for placing a statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune in the U.S. Capitol.
The Bethune bill (SB 472) received nearly unanimous support in the House and Senate before getting Scott’s signature.
Under the plan, a statue of Bethune – the founder of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach – is expected to become one of Florida’s two representatives in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.
Bethune’s statue will replace a likeness of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. Florida’s other representative in the hall is John Gorrie, widely considered the father of air conditioning.
The Bethune bill was sponsored by Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, Rep. Patrick Henry, D-Daytona Beach, and Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach.