Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the amazing contributions from ladies that helped shape the world, and you better believe many of those history makers were our strong Black sisters.
One in specific was civil rights icon Mary McLeod Bethune, a White House mainstay during the Roosevelt era that played a prominent role in his Black Cabinet collective. Now, the long gone educator makes her grand return to The U.S. Capitol in the form of a statue that will sit in the National Statuary Hall.
As reported by The Washington Post, the statue of Bethune will be the first of any Black American in history to represent any state in the National Statuary Hall collection. In this case she’ll represent Florida, replacing the one of Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith that’s been there since 1922 before getting removed last year.
More on the Bethune statue below, via The Washington Post:
“Bethune’s statue was carved from a large piece of marble quarried in the Italian Alps. ‘The statue is more than a commemoration,’ said Jill Watts, a professor of history at California State University-San Marcos and author of ‘The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt.’
Watts, who spoke at a U.S. Capitol Historical Society panel discussion in January, said Bethune’s statue represents her activism and is ‘an extension of her political presence that she established in this ‘Black Cabinet’ period.’ Watts said that Bethune was ‘critical to the Black Cabinet,’ a self-organized advisory group to FDR.
The statue, created by sculptor Nilda Comas, weighs 6,129 pounds and stands 11 feet tall, according to the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project, which raised money for the statue.”
Bethune’s statue, made from the finest marble in the world according to its sculptor, comes complete with an inscription on the pedestal that reads, “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it may be a diamond in the rough.” She’s depicted holding a black rose while wearing a cap and gown to honor her roots in education, which highlights her position as one of the first Black women with a university founded in her name.
As an added bonus for Women’s History Month, Comas is now the first Latina artist to have a sculpture in the National Statuary Hall. Good win for the ladies from all angles!
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