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Press Release

Castor Provides Update on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statue Headed to U.S. Capitol

Important Approval Granted by the Architect of the Capitol for Sculptor to Commence Work

“After years of work by so many, I am proud to share that Master Sculptor Nilda Comas is now able to travel to Pietrasanta, Italy and “put hammer to chisel to marble” on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s statue to represent Florida in the U.S. Capitol. Official word will soon be sent to the State of Florida, but the last preliminary step in the Architect of the Capitol Procedures and Guidelines for Replacement of Statues (the “Approval of Full-Size Clay Model and Pedestal Design, Including Proposed Inscription) is complete and allows work on the actual statue to commence! In a remarkable feat of industriousness that Dr. Bethune would surely love, Nilda is using the last marble hunk of its size pulled from the historic quarry also used by Michelangelo for his sculpture of “David” 500 years ago.

“It is a proud day for all Floridians, especially the Daytona Beach Community Foundation, President Bob Lloyd, and Bethune-Cookman University, who will make the statue possible in partnership. The Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation who renewed calls for a new statue to represent our state after the murder of Mother Emanuel AME Church congregants and the bipartisan members of the Florida Legislature who answered our call can be very proud of the progress on behalf of Floridians. I am grateful to the professionals in the Architect of Capitol’s office, the Library of Congress, the House Administration Committee and my Chief of Staff Clay Phillips who have diligently moved our effort forward. We can now look forward to the time when we hold the celebration to welcome Dr. Bethune to the Capitol!” said Rep. Castor.

“It has been such a meaningful journey so far. I can now take the steps to turn our dream into marble from Michelangelo’s cave and Dr. Bethune can take her rightful Place of Power in our Nation’s Capitol,” said Master Sculptor Nilda Comas. “I was preparing for this all my life already, and now Dr. Bethune got to my heart.” 

“In these times, I believe the presence of Dr. Bethune at the U.S. Capitol will help unite our country, giving all of us the opportunity to know the true meaning of what it entails to be an American,” continued Comas.

For years, Castor has championed the removal of Florida’s Jim Crow era statue from the United States Capitol’s Statuary Hall, obscure Confederate General Kirby Smith. Floridians will soon be better represented in the U.S. Capitol by a symbol of hope and a better future- civil rights & education icon, Mary McLeod Bethune. Dr. Bethune will be the first African American to officially represent a state in Statuary Hall, and Nilda Comas, will be the first Hispanic woman to have work displayed in Statuary Hall.