FL civil rights leader statue will replace Confederate general statue

Mary McLeod Bethune

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will soon sign a letter to federal authorities requesting that they approve Florida’s plan to replace a statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in the nation’s Statuary Hall collection with a new statue of civil rights leader and educator Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

That’s according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa who visited DeSantis in the state Capitol last week.

Each state gets to display two statues in the nation’s capital. Florida chose statues of Dr. John Gorrie (who invented the precursor to the air conditioner) and Smith –  a Confederate general born in Florida who was placed in the national collection nearly a century ago.

Momentum to remove the Smith statue began shortly after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black worshippers in a South Carolina church in 2015.  The murders set off rallies and protests around the country with demands to remove Confederate monuments and flags from public spaces.

The Florida Legislature voted to remove the Smith statue from Washington, D.C. in 2016, and passed legislation last year to replace it with a statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, who is perhaps best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach. That school later merged with the Cookman Institute for Men, and later became known as Bethune-Cookman College. She will become the first African-American woman recognized at Statuary Hall.

Despite the fact that now-former Governor Rick Scott signed the bill authorizing the Bethune statue into law, he somehow failed to submit the letter to the office in charge of the statues – called the Architect of the Capitol.

“It was a strange thing,” Castor said last week in Tallahassee. “It’s just a ministerial step under the rules and regulations of the Architect of the Capitol to send a simple short letter that says the law has passed. And that was left undone.”

Sculptor Nilda Comas is slated to design the Bethune statue.

A spokesman for Scott told the Phoenix last week that the office was unaware of his failure to sign the letter authorizing the go-ahead for the statue, and said he would investigate.

8 COMMENTS

  1. There should be a law that any Yankee moving south should not be able to stay any longer than 5 years and must move back to state of origin.

  2. Why does history dealing with the Confederacy and it’s flag gotta be removed as if it wasn’t important. For many years people have said the Confederacy was about slavery when it wasn’t. It disgust me to see my history get removed,tore down or destroyed.

  3. This article referred to the rallies and protests that resulted from the horrible Charleston Church murders. Dylan Roof had no ties whatsoever with the Confederate Community. How about the 2010 murders by Omar Thornton who murdered 8 white co-workers? And, the recent 5 murders in Aurura, Il by African American Gary Martin who was being fired? How shall these victims be remembered or what should change after their murders?

    • That’s only TWO examples and as nothing to do with the racist history of this country, especially the racist South. The statue doesn’t represent anything except ignorance…the statue of Dr. Bethune is a symbol of excellence.

  4. Dr, Mary Bethune was born in South Carolina, has a Memorial/Statue in both South Carolina and Washington D.C. She is also a member of the South Carolina Hall of Fame. She belongs to South Carolina and not Florida. She only came to Daytona, FL because she was told many rich families vacationed there and it would be a good place to solicit money to open and run a small school for black children and she was successful in receiving donations as planned. Dr. Bethune spent most of her life outside of Florida and lived over 10 years in Washington D.C. lobbying for the benefit of black women. She was a successful and accomplished woman, but South Carolina has much more standing in any effort to place a statue of her in Statuary Hall representing their State.

    The background description of Floridian born Edmund Kirby Smith is also sorely lacking. He was a West Point Graduate finishing high in his Class, He served many years in the U.S. Army, fought in the Mexican American War and chose to serve his home State, Florida, only after they seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America. In this capacity of serving, he quickly rose in Rank and became the only Floridian born soldier to obtain the Rank of Commander of an Army, (Army of the Trans Mississippi)’

  5. Outrageous Black racism at its worst! Floridians have drunk too much NAACP historical revisionism Cool-Aid. Florida has been taken over from within by Yankee carpetbaggers and jelly brained ignorant liberals.

  6. Rick Scott… my hero !
    Kirby Smith also my hero !
    Mary Bethune my heroine !

    John Gorrie… so what?

    Keep Smith & add Bethune…get rid of Gorrie

    LEAVE OUR CSA MONUMENTS ALONE

  7. If Jim’s suggestion was adopted, then Kirby Smith’s family would have had to return to Connecticut, whence they came. His mother and father were both Connecticut Yankees…

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