U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall unveils statue of Mary McLeod Bethune

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Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks in front of a statue of civil rights leader and trailblazing educator Mary McLeod Bethune, during a ceremony in honor of Bethune in Statuary Hall, Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Bethune on Wednesday became the first Black person elevated by a state for recognition in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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On July 13, the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall unveiled a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune.

Bethune, the daughter of formerly enslaved people, was the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, the Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida, and also served as an adviser to five U.S. presidents. Bethune’s statue in the U.S. Capitol replaces a statue of Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith.

Created by Fort Lauderdale artist Nilda Comas, the statue is 11 feet tall and made of marble. Comas has also made history as the first Hispanic artist with a statue in the hall.

The Bethune statue is the first to represent a Black person in the state collection within Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, according to House majority whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

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