SB 472 First Engrossed 2018472e1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the National Statuary Hall; 3 requesting the Joint Committee on the Library of 4 Congress to approve the replacement of the statue of 5 Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in the National 6 Statuary Hall Collection with a statue of Mary McLeod 7 Bethune; providing for the transfer of ownership of 8 the statue of General Edmund Kirby Smith to the state; 9 requiring the Division of Cultural Affairs of the 10 Department of State to take possession of the statue 11 and make available for public display; providing that 12 the act is an official request to the Joint Committee 13 on the Library of Congress; requiring the Department 14 of State to deliver copies of the act to certain 15 persons on the act’s effective date; providing an 16 effective date. 17 18 WHEREAS, in March 2016, the Florida Legislature passed, and 19 the Governor signed into law, Senate Bill 310, authorizing the 20 replacement of the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby 21 Smith in the National Statuary Hall Collection with a statue of 22 a prominent Florida citizen recommended by the ad hoc committee 23 of the Great Floridians Program within the Division of 24 Historical Resources of the Department of State, and 25 WHEREAS, one of the three prominent Florida citizens 26 recommended by the ad hoc committee is Mary McLeod Bethune, and 27 WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10, 1875, in 28 Mayesville, South Carolina, and she was the first member of her 29 family, including all of her 16 siblings, born free following 30 the conclusion of the Civil War, and 31 WHEREAS, beginning at a young age, Mary McLeod Bethune 32 became engaged with learning and teaching after receiving an 33 opportunity to attend Trinity Presbyterian Mission School in her 34 hometown, and her dedication was evidenced through attending as 35 many classes as she could and teaching her parents and siblings 36 what she had learned, and 37 WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune was awarded a scholarship 38 allowing her to enroll at the then-Scotia Seminary for Girls in 39 Concord, North Carolina, from which she graduated in 1893, and 40 she went on to continue her studies at the Moody Bible Institute 41 in Chicago, and 42 WHEREAS, upon graduating from the Moody Bible Institute, 43 Mary McLeod Bethune became a teacher and taught at schools in 44 Georgia and South Carolina before moving to Florida to teach at 45 the Palatka Mission School, and 46 WHEREAS, through observing the burgeoning black population 47 in the area prompted by labor needed for railroad construction, 48 Mary McLeod Bethune decided to follow through with her dream of 49 opening her own school, and 50 WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune bought a small cottage in 51 Daytona Beach to allow for the opening of the Daytona Literary 52 and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904 and 53 through her commitment to fundraising, the school’s enrollment 54 grew from 5 to 250 students in just 2 years, and 55 WHEREAS, the school continued to grow, which eventually 56 resulted in its merger with the Cookman Institute for Men in 57 Jacksonville to form Bethune-Cookman College, where she later 58 served as president, and 59 WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune’s advocacy continued with her 60 founding of the National Council of Negro Women and her 61 appointment as Director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the 62 National Youth Administration by President Franklin Delano 63 Roosevelt, and 64 WHEREAS, through her position as the highest ranking 65 African-American woman in the Federal Government, Mary McLeod 66 Bethune was able to assist African-American youth in finding 67 employment and worked with the Women’s Army Corps during World 68 War II to recruit African-American female officers, and 69 WHEREAS, upon her death in 1955, Mary McLeod Bethune’s 70 inspirational leadership was praised by many, including former 71 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who lauded “her wisdom and her 72 goodness,” and 73 WHEREAS, in 1995, the United States National Park Service 74 established the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National 75 Historic Site in Washington, D.C., which has preserved the 76 townhouse that was once her personal residence and the first 77 headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, and 78 WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy continues to be felt 79 in Florida through the continued success of Bethune-Cookman 80 University, whose enrollment is currently approaching a record 81 high of 4,000 students, and 82 WHEREAS, it is appropriate to honor Mary McLeod Bethune as 83 one of two Floridians memorialized in statues in the National 84 Statuary Hall Collection given her significant and continuing 85 impact on this state, NOW, THEREFORE, 86 87 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 88 89 Section 1. The Legislature of the State of Florida hereby 90 respectfully requests the Joint Committee on the Library of 91 Congress to approve the replacement of the statue of Confederate 92 General Edmund Kirby Smith in the National Statuary Hall 93 Collection with a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune. Contingent upon 94 such approval by the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress, 95 ownership of the statue of General Edmund Kirby Smith shall 96 transfer to the state in accordance with 2 U.S.C. s. 2132(d). 97 The Division of Cultural Affairs of the Department of State 98 shall take possession of the returned statue, and make the 99 statue available for public display. 100 Section 2. This act shall serve as an official request to 101 the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress pursuant to 2 102 U.S.C. s. 2132. 103 Section 3. On the effective date of this act, the 104 Department of State shall deliver a copy of this act to the 105 President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United 106 States House of Representatives, the Joint Committee on the 107 Library of Congress, and to each member of the Florida 108 delegation to the United States Congress. 109 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.