DeSantis formally requests statue of Mary McLeod Bethune to replace Confederate statue at U.S. Capitol

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has requested that a statue of a Confederate general in the U.S. Capitol be replaced with a statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

DeSantis made the announcement, Wednesday.

“Florida is proud to commemorate the 144th anniversary of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s birthday by sending our state’s formal request to place her statue in National Statuary Hall, making her the first African-American to have a state-commissioned statue,” DeSantis said.

McLeod Bethune’s statue will replace that of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. Smith served as a general for the Confederate States Army during the Civil War.

“Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was an influential educator, leader and civil rights activist who became one of Florida’s and our nation’s most influential leaders,” DeSantis said. “Dr. McLeod Bethune’s statue will represent the best of who we are as Floridians to visitors from around the world in our nation’s capitol. Her legacy endures and will continue to inspire future generations.”

McLeod Bethune will be the first African-American to have a state-commissioned statue in National Statuary Hall.

The announcement falls on what would be McLeod Bethune’s 144th birthday.

Legislation was signed into law in 2018 that created a pathway for Smith’s statue to be replaced with a likeness of McLeod Bethune.

The statue of McLeod Bethune is slated to be completed and moved to the National Statuary Hall in 2020.

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