Nancy Lohman, Chair
The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc.
Statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Makes Historic Stop in Daytona Beach, Florida on Its Way to the United States Capitol
Daytona Beach, Florida (October 11, 2021) — The statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune has made an historic detour to the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach before departing for its permanent placement in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. as one of the two greatest Floridians representing the state of Florida in the U.S. Statuary Hall State Collection. Dignitaries are expected to gather as the magnificent marble statue will debut with a special unveiling ceremony.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring the exhibit of this statue of Dr. Bethune to Daytona Beach before the statue takes its place of prominence in Washington, D.C. for all time,” said Nancy Lohman, President of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc. The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc. assumed the responsibility of funding the statue project as approved by the Florida Legislature and signed into law in 2016 and 2018. “This has been years in the making and we’ve rallied the support of many business and community partners to help us properly pay tribute to this great Floridian.”
Dr. Bethune is the first African American and only the tenth woman to be honored in the Statuary Hall State Collection. The City of Daytona Beach, Dr. Bethune’s residence, and the city in which she founded Bethune-Cookman University, received the unique opportunity to showcase the 11-foot statue for a limited time this fall. Beginning October 12, the public will be able to view the statue daily and experience a self-guided tour featuring the history of Dr. Bethune’s legacy as an educator, activist, and entrepreneur. Visitors will learn the details of the three-ton statue creation sculpted by Florida artist Nilda Comas, the first Hispanic Master Sculptor chosen for the Statuary Hall State Collection, beginning with the marble excavation from Michelangelo’s cave in Pietrasanta, Italy.
The local display’s presenting sponsor, Florida Blue, provided the majority funding for the statue’s temporary exhibit in Daytona Beach. “This is a unique moment in Florida history,” said Tanya Easterling, Florida Blue market leader for Volusia, Flagler and Brevard counties. “Floridians will get the first opportunity to view this masterpiece in person, before the rest of the world, and join in celebration of Dr. Bethune’s powerful legacy that has helped make this nation stronger and better. Florida Blue is proud to support this effort that we know will foster unity and make a lasting impact in the Black community and for all of America.”
Now, through December 12, the statue will be on display at the News-Journal Center (221 North Beach Street) in Daytona Beach. The exhibit will be open 10am-4pm daily and admission is free. Visitor capacity is limited, for tickets and more information, visit www.mmbstatue.org.