July 13, 2022

Congresswoman Lee Commemorates the Unveiling of Capitol Statue Honoring Mary McLeod Bethune

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee today released a statement on the Mary McLeod Bethune statue unveiled Wednesday in the U.S. Capitol, making her the first Black American in the National Statuary Hall collection. Although the Bethune statue is the first of a Black American in the Statuary Hall collection, it is not the first statue of a Black American in the Capitol building. There are also statues of Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks, and busts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth. The latter three were commissioned by Congress and don’t represent any single state.

“Today, a statue of a Confederate general was replaced with a Black woman civil rights activist and daughter of former enslaved persons.

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“A passionate educator and powerful political advisor, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was a champion of racial and gender equity. My mother, who knew her and shared incredible stories with me about her, would be so proud to see her legacy honored in the Capitol.

“We must continue to honor the civil rights champions of our past and present not only through representation in our nation’s Capitol, but through policies that address the vast injustices of centuries of systemic racism and inequity.”

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