Fight For Equity; Bethune Statue Headed To D.C.

Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune

A statute of B-CU's founder seems destined to replace that of a confederate general in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. 

A committee of state officials voted 20-1 recently to have Mary McLeod Bethune as one of two statutes representing the state of Florida. It would replace a monument of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in the National Statuary Hall to represent Florida in Washington D.C. He has represented Florida since 1922.

 A state Senate committee previously approved the idea. Bethune's statute would join that of a monument to John Gorrie, widely considered the father of air conditioning. 

"The timing is right to pass this," sponsor Patrick Henry (D-Daytona Beach) told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I think with all the controversy we've had with Charlottesville and the Confederate statues, it's time to move forward," said Henry, who graduated from B-CU. 

So, what does it mean for the state of Florida? For one, Florida will no longer be represented as a state that tolerates celebrating inequality. From now on in the National Statuary Hall Florida's monument will symbolize a fight for equal opportunities and education for all. 

Placing Bethune's statue, however, goes beyond the state of Florida's representation in U.S. Capitol. Today, when neo-nazi racists march in Charlottesville and police officers assault African Americans all across the country, a statue of an African-American woman who founded a university with $1.50 in her pocket is at least a symbol of black excellence. 

Bethune's statue will be one of many Confederate statue replacements in cities all across the United States. Confederate statues have been removed in Annapolis, Austin, Baltimore, Bradenton, Brooklyn, Dallas, Daytona Beach, Durham, Franklin, Gainesville, Helena, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, San Diego, San Antonio, St. Louis, St. Petersburg, Washington and Worthington.

By Augustinas Navickas