DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It's a historic day in Daytona Beach. The new statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was unveiled.
The 11-foot statue made its trip down Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard on Tuesday to a round of applause from onlookers. Bethune's great-granddaughters were even there.
"Brought tears. Some tears. It’s very much overdue," said Mary Bethune-Graves.
Bethune lived in Daytona Beach and she founded Bethune-Cookman University. Born to former slaves, she became a leading educator and civil rights activist. She also advised five U.S. presidents.
She will be the first African American to represent a state in the U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall. Bethune replaces a statue of a Confederate general.
The statue was created in Italy by Florida artist Nilda Comas, from a block of marble coming from Michelangelo’s cave. It is comprised of the most precious of all marbles.
"This piece of marble comes from Michelangelo’s cave in the mountains of Carrara," Comas explained.
The statue is said to be 11-feet tall and weighs over 6,000 pounds. It traveled in two parts and was carefully unloaded at the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach where it will stay for two months before moving to the U.S. Capitol Building.
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