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Record Group Number: 900000
Series/Collection Number: N2022- 19
Creator: Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc.
Title, Dates: Mary McLeod Bethune Statue sculpting, installation and unveiling records, 2019-2022.
Amount: .50 cubic ft.
.549 gigabytes (138 files, 4 folders: Size 549 MB (575,680,982 bytes))
9470 gigabytes (42,483 files, 1,532 folders: Size 9.47 TB (10,417,803,870,422 bytes)) external hard drive
Medium Included: electronic records
Organization/Arrangement: Paper records arranged chronologically. Electronic records unarranged.
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:     In 2016, the Florida Legislature passed a law that provided for the selection of a prominent Florida citizen to be commemorated in the National Statuary Hall as a replacement for the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith (Chapter 2016-41, Laws of Florida). The Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs conducted a statewide search for a replacement and a sculptor. The public submitted 259 unique names, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune overwhelmingly won the final vote of eligible subjects. After a national search, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture selected Fort Lauderdale artist Nilda Comas to create the new statue.

    In 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law requesting the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve a statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune as the replacement. That same year, The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund, Inc. formed as a Florida not-for-profit corporation to fulfill the private funding component of the statuary project. To create the sculpture, Nilda Comas secured the largest (and last) piece of statuary marble from the Italian Alps and the quarries above Pietrasanta, Italy. She began working with clay in 2019 and completed the white marble statue in July 2021.

    The first public ceremony revealing the statue took place in Pietrasanta, Italy in July 2021. The statue then traveled to Daytona Beach where it was displayed at the News-Journal Center from October to December 2021. The final unveiling and dedication ceremonies were at the National Statuary Hall in July 2022. An identical bronze sculpture, installed in August 2022, has a permanent place in Daytona Beach, Florida.

    The National Statuary Hall, established in 1864 in Washington, D.C., is devoted to sculptures of prominent American and holds two statues donated from all 50 states. Florida's current statues are of John Gorrie (donated in 1914) and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

Summary:     This collection consists of materials documenting the sculpting, installation, and unveiling of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune statue from its creation in Pietrasanta, Italy to its final location in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The collection includes invitations and programs for the various ceremonial events as well as some publications regarding the selection process and significance of Mary McLeod Bethune. Digital images depict the sculpting process, shipping preparations, installation, and more.

    The external hard drive in Box 3 contains a large amount of electronic records documenting the production of "The Art of the Possible," a feature-length documentary depicting the life and legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune and the work of all involved in the creation and installation of her statue. It includes images, videos, interviews and transcripts, PowerPoint slideshows, and supporting documents, as well as the full documentary.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available. 0
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Reproduction Note:
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Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955
Electronic records (digital records). aat
Photographs. aat
Programs. aat
Daytona Beach (Fla.)
Washington (D.C.)
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