An 11-foot-tall statue of Bethune was unveiled Monday in Daytona Beach, Florida, which Bethune calls its home and is home to Bethune-Cookman University.
The statue will be on display at Daytona Beach through December before moving to the US Capitol in early 2022.
The Bethune statue was created by master sculptor Nilda Comas, a Hispanic woman, who spent two years carving it. Lloyd said that by being the first African American to represent a state in the statutory hall beyond Bethune, she is also the first person from Daytona Beach to be represented.
“I’m third generation from Daytona Beach, Florida. My grandfather called him his friend,” Lloyd told Granthshala. His grandfather, who had been a local car dealer for decades, was active in civil rights and was friends with Bethune, he said.
“It’s like three generations, and the connection is very real,” he said. “It’s one that my family is really proud of.”
She fought for civil and women’s rights
Bethune was born in 1875 on a farm near Maysville, South Carolina. She was the 15th child of former slaves.
In 1904, she founded the Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls.
Bethune’s influence left a mark in Florida but also on black people and women at large. His life’s work Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statue Fund, Inc. is an inspiration to the board chairman of Nancy Lohman.
“Dr. Bethune was an amazing pioneer,” Lohman told Granthshala. “She fought for African American rights, women’s rights. When she saw a problem, she joined in to help create a solution.”
After women were granted the right to vote in 1920, Bethune led the voter registration campaign.
He served as an advisor to five US presidents. Bethune was named director of the National Youth Administration Office for Negro Affairs under President Franklin Roosevelt. She was also friends with President and then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
“She was of a serious and patient nature,” Lohmann said. “She really sets an example that is relevant today that collaboration and reasoning with census-building and professional dialogue is a way to advance the agenda.”
Bethune’s statue took years to build
Lloyd said that the journey to recognize Bethune in this way began in 2016.
Lloyd said Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law that year requesting the Smith statue be replaced. Bethune was selected in 2018.
Lloyd said that if the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statue Fund, Inc. Had it not been for Bethune, Bethune would not have been in the form of a statue. The board of the nonprofit raised approximately $800,000 in private donations.
Lohman said the money went toward the marble statue as well as a bronze statue erected for a new riverfront park in Daytona Beach. He said a documentary and a school curriculum module would be followed.
“His life achievements and his legacy are a positive influence in my life,” Lohman said. “We have the opportunity in our country to see his legacy make a positive impact in everyone’s lives, and especially in our young children and students.”
Credit : www.cnn.com