As debates over removing racist Confederate statues are getting more heated, two Black women will get their own monuments.
A statue of a Confederate general is going down and will be replaced by one history-making Black educator at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., The Associated Press reported. Mary McLeod Bethune will have her own monument in place of a statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, according to an SB 472 bill signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott on Monday.
Bethune is the founder of the historically Black Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Once the statue is built, she will be the first African-American woman in Statuary Hall, a chamber dedicated to monuments honoring prominent Americans at the U.S. Capitol.
Elsewhere, another discriminatory statue will fall to the ground. The controversial Stephen Foster memorial in the North Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be replaced by a tribute to a Black woman. It will be the first statue to honor an African-American female, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. But who will be the woman honored?
Well, first, this statue has sparked protests for portraying Foster, a minstrel show songwriter. Also, an African-American banjo player is shown at the feet of the seated composer, an image that folks have criticized for being racist and depicting the myth of Black inferiority. The statue has also been under fire for what folks also said was being a symbol of cultural appropriation.
As far as who will be the Black woman honored with the statue, community members will be able to vote on that decision. Pittsburgh residents can go to www.pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/survey/index.html to vote for one of seven choices for the new statue and suggest their own.