90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

First African American woman takes her place in Statuary Hall

Photo: Mary McLeod Bethune

On Wednesday, the first and only statue of an African American was unveiled in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. 

The statue of Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator, activist and founder of Bethune-Cookman University replaces one of a Confederate General. 

Sonya Poteat, a graduate of BCU, and teacher in Daytona Beach says she’s overwhelmed by the moment. 

“It just brought it back to life and it just really made me very proud to be here and to be a part of her legacy. I’m a student of Bethune Cookman, so I just really, it just did all that for me.”

Poteat comes from a long line of teachers and civil rights activists, all inspired by Bethune’s work in the community. 

“We are definitely a great people and this is such a great honor to be in the Capitol building in the greatest country in the world.”

The 11-foot tall statue of Bethune is made of marble and depicts her in her matriculation robes holding one of her favorite black roses. 

Along with making history as the first Black person to be represented in the hall, her statue is also one of only a few women on the hill.

At her feet an inscription of one of her favorite sayings, reads: “Invest in the human soul. Who knows? It might be a diamond in the rough.” 

Listen to WMFE’s Talia Blake interview artist Nilda Comas who designed the statue made from marble that has a connection to none other than Michelangelo:

Sculptor Nilda Comas Captures Mary McLeod Bethune’s Essence In Marble For U.S. National Statuary Hall

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »