Mary McLeod Bethune National Statuary Hall Fund Raises Over $370k Toward Fundraising Goal
In April 2018, more than 100 friends and supporters gathered to kick off the National Statuary Hall fundraising campaign. The celebratory event raised more than half of the $400,000 goal on that day. To date, more than $370K has been contributed to the Mary McLeod Bethune National Statuary Hall Fund.
The Mary McLeod Bethune National Statuary Fund is a separate entity from Bethune-Cookman University and lead by a committee from the Volusia County community comprised of the following individuals:
Robert Lloyd, Brown & Brown Insurance - Chairperson/President
Joyce Cusack, Volusia County Council - Treasurer
Jim Cameron, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce - Secretary
Billie Wheeler, Volusia County Council Representative, District 2
Derrick Henry, City of Daytona Beach Mayor
Kathy Crotty, Esq., Cobb Cole
Jennifer Adams, B-CU National Alumni Association
Belvin Perry, Esq., B-CU Board of Trustees
Hubert Grimes, Esq., B-CU Interim President
Clifford Porter, Jr. Esq., B-CU Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Florida Council on Arts and Culture Selects Master Sculptor for National Statuary Hall Statue
Nilda Comas, a master sculptor. was selected in a national competition by Florida’s Council on Arts and Culture to create Florida’s sculpture for National Statuary Hall in 2016. At the time she was chosen, she had no idea who her subject would be.
Since learning that Mary McLeod Bethune — founder of Bethune-Cookman University, the National Council of Negro Women and co-founder of the United Negro College Fund — would be Florida’s representative in National Statuary Hall, she has immersed herself in the life of the influential educator and stateswoman.
“I listened to speeches so I could hear her voice," said Comas. "She had a way of speaking that was so educated, so direct and yet so gentle. I think she had so much confidence, and that is one of the things that impressed me about her. I can see that someone like that could accomplish so much.”
Comas has visited the Library of Congress and Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in Washington, DC, and the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation home in Daytona Beach, Florida, to glean insights into Bethune’s life and influence.
Comas is working from 288 photographs provided by the Library of Congress and consulting with Bethune-Cookman University librarians, archivists and the University’s Office of Legacy and Women’s Initiatives to arrive at the image of Bethune which she will sculpt from the same Italian marble used by Michelangelo more than five hundred years ago.
The statue is expected to be unveiled in the nation's capitol in 2020, and the statuary fund will sunset after the reveal of the statue in Washington.