The Great Floridians committee is recommending an educator, an environmentalist, or a grocer to represent the state in Washington D.C.’s Statuary Hall.
The council has narrowed the list to Publix founder George Washington Jenkins, Everglades conservationist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and educator Mary McLeod Bethune. The state Legislature will get its chance to select a figure next year. Florida Guard Adjutant General Michael Calhoun serves on the committee, and spoke in favor of Bethune.
“During that period of time when we still had segregation,” Calhoun said, “what she brought to education and to the state of Florida and to the United States as a whole still echoes to today.”
Each committee member got three votes. Calhoun voted for Bethune, Jenkins and Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Alexander Nininger. The finalist chosen by the Legislature will replace Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith.