The Pride of Florida

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project and its initiatives including the funding and coordinating of the marble statue for the US Capitol in Washington D.C., the bronze statue commissioned for Bethune Plaza in the Daytona Beach Riverfront Esplanade Park, the feature-length documentary, the K-12 curriculum module, and the Daytona Beach Statue Exhibit.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”

Mary McLeod Bethune was born on a farm near Mayesville, South Carolina, in 1875, the fifteenth child of former slaves. She rose from those humble beginnings to become a world-renowned educator, civil rights and human rights leader, champion for women and young people, and advisor to five U.S. presidents.

The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project is a proud moment for the entire state of Florida and our nation.

Learn more

Sculpture Symbolism

Elements of The Statue

Master sculptor, Nilda Comas, secured the largest (and last) piece of statuary marble from the Italian Alps and the quarries above Pietrasanta, Italy. The block of statuario marble was carved from Michelangelo’s cave and weighed 11,500 tons. According to the artist, statuario marble is the finest marble in the world.

At the base of the pedestal, along with the prominent, capitalized letters of her home state, her name, and the dates of her birth and death, there will be an inscription memorializing one of Dr. Bethune’s most famous quotes – “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it may be a diamond in the rough.”


  • Sculpture: 8'4" x 3'5" x 4'
  • Base: 2'7½" x 3' x 3'
  • Total: 11'
  • Weight: 6,129lb
Mary McLeod Bethune

Witness History

Exhibit Details

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Bethune during the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Project. Dr. Bethune will be the first African American woman honored by a state.


  • Daytona Beach News-Journal Center
  • 221 N Beach St, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
  • Get Directions →


  • Oct. 12th, 2021 – Dec. 12th, 2021
  • 10:00am – 3:00pm (hourly, closes at 4pm)