Florida Senate - 2017                                   SCR 1360
       By Senator Thurston
       33-01441-17                                           20171360__
    1                    Senate Concurrent Resolution                   
    2         A concurrent resolution requesting the Joint Committee
    3         on the Library of Congress to approve the replacement
    4         of the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby
    5         Smith in the National Statuary Hall Collection with a
    6         statue of Mary McLeod Bethune.
    8         WHEREAS, in March 2016, the Florida Legislature passed, and
    9  the Governor signed into law, Senate Bill 310, authorizing the
   10  replacement of the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby
   11  Smith in the National Statuary Hall Collection with a prominent
   12  Florida citizen recommended by the ad hoc committee of the Great
   13  Floridians Program within the Division of Historical Resources
   14  of the Department of State, and
   15         WHEREAS, one of the three prominent Florida citizens
   16  recommended by the ad hoc committee is Mary McLeod Bethune, and
   17         WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune was born on July 10, 1875, in
   18  Mayesville, South Carolina, and she was the first member of her
   19  family, including all of her 16 siblings, born free following
   20  the conclusion of the Civil War, and
   21         WHEREAS, beginning at a young age, Mary McLeod Bethune
   22  became engaged with learning and teaching after receiving an
   23  opportunity to attend Presbyterian Mission School in her
   24  hometown, and her dedication was evidenced through attending as
   25  many classes as she could and teaching her parents and siblings
   26  what she had learned, and
   27         WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune was awarded a scholarship
   28  allowing her to enroll at the then-Scotia Seminary for Girls in
   29  Concord, North Carolina, from which she graduated in 1893, and
   30  went on to continue her studies at the Moody Bible Institute in
   31  Chicago, and
   32         WHEREAS, upon graduating from the Moody Bible Institute,
   33  Mary McLeod Bethune became a teacher and taught at schools in
   34  Georgia and South Carolina before moving to Florida to teach at
   35  the Palatka Mission School, and
   36         WHEREAS, through observing the burgeoning black population
   37  in the area prompted by labor needed for railroad construction,
   38  Mary McLeod Bethune decided to follow through with her dream of
   39  opening her own school, and
   40         WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune bought a small cottage in
   41  Daytona Beach to allow for the opening of the Daytona Literary
   42  and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904 and
   43  through her commitment to fundraising, the school’s enrollment
   44  grew from 5 to 250 students in just 2 years, and
   45         WHEREAS, the school continued to grow, which eventually
   46  resulted in its merger with the Cookman Institute for Men in
   47  Jacksonville to form Bethune-Cookman College, where she later
   48  served as president, and
   49         WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune’s advocacy continued with her
   50  founding of the National Council of Negro Women and her
   51  appointment as Director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the
   52  National Youth Administration by President Franklin Delano
   53  Roosevelt, and
   54         WHEREAS, through her position as the highest ranking
   55  African-American woman in the Federal Government, Mary McLeod
   56  Bethune was able to assist African-American youth in finding
   57  employment and worked with the Women’s Army Corps during World
   58  War II to recruit African-American female officers, and
   59         WHEREAS, upon her death in 1955, Mary McLeod Bethune’s
   60  inspirational leadership was praised by many, including former
   61  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who lauded “her wisdom and her
   62  goodness,” and
   63         WHEREAS, in 1995, the United States National Park Service
   64  established the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National
   65  Historic Site in Washington, D.C., which has preserved the
   66  townhouse that was once her personal residence and the first
   67  headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, and
   68         WHEREAS, Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy continues to be felt
   69  in Florida through the continued success of Bethune-Cookman
   70  University, whose record high enrollment is currently
   71  approaching 4,000 students, and
   72         WHEREAS, it is appropriate to honor Mary McLeod Bethune as
   73  one of two Floridians memorialized in statues in the National
   74  Statuary Hall Collection given her significant and continuing
   75  impact on this state, NOW, THEREFORE,
   77  Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of Florida, the House
   78  of Representatives Concurring:
   80         That the Legislature of the State of Florida hereby
   81  respectfully requests the Joint Committee on the Library of
   82  Congress to approve the replacement of the statue of Confederate
   83  General Edmund Kirby Smith in the National Statuary Hall
   84  Collection with a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune.