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State Lawmaker Trying Again To Replace Confederate General's Statue in D.C.

Mary McLeod Bethune
Florida State Archives

A South Florida Senator is trying again to send a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune to represent Florida in Washington D.C’s Statuary Hall.  The current statue is confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith.

In 2016, Florida lawmakers approved a measure to eventually replace the general’s statue.  Now Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) wants the Legislature to take the next step after failing approve his bill replacing Smith with Mary McLeod Bethune earlier this year.

Bethune was a pioneering African American educator and founder of the school that went on to become Bethune Cookman University.  A competing measure last session would’ve sent the environmentalist Marjorie Stoneman Douglas instead—neither gained approval. 

After the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Lantana Democratic Representative Lori Berman is pushing the governor to call a special session to speed up approving a replacement.