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Hooper: Mary McLeod Bethune would make imposing stand in statuary hall

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Washington, July 3, 2016 | comments
In 2015, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, started pushing to replace the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, one of two images representing Florida.
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Column by Ernest Hooper, published in the Tampa Bay Times on July 3, 2016

In 2015, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, started pushing to replace the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, one of two images representing Florida.

Last week, that goal moved one step closer when an ad-hoc committee designated by the state Legislature chose to replace the statue with a replica of pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

Funding and final legislative approval remain necessities. The Legislature could opt for one of the other finalists: Publix founder George Jenkins or environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas. But Castor nominated Bethune and would love to see this come to fruition.

Bethune's image would become the first African-American from a state in the statuary hall. Frederick Douglass represents Washington, D.C., and Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth are parts of special collections.

I love the idea of Florida leading the way on this issue. …

I don't like the idea of Florida leading national news this weekend. The algae bloom on the Treasure Coast stands as another sign we need to be better stewards. Florida is God's gift to us, not ours to squander. …

Seen on a bumper sticker: Terry Would Go. …

I'm sticking with the Rays. The bad times always make the good times better. I'm still savoring that 2008 World Series trip. They will bounce back. …

Kudos to Palm Harbor's Victoria Humphrey, who finished as the second runnerup in the Miss Florida pageant Saturday. Next step for Humphrey: medical school at the University of Pittsburgh.

With or without a crown, she will continue to reign.

That's all I'm saying.

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