JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Jersey City now has its first bronze statue honoring a female Civil Rights leader.
A 9-foot monument depicting Mary McLeod Bethune was unveiled Saturday afternoon in the newly constructed Bethune Park.
Bethune founded a national council for Black women and served as president of several organizations for Black women.
The statue completes a new park which Jersey City has also named in her honor.
The park is already widely utilized by neighborhood residents and is a valued extension of the Bethune Community Center located across the street, allowing for more outdoor community-centric programming.
"This monument not only pays homage to a historic civil rights leader, but it also completes the much-needed park to signify a promising future where children now play together on the new playground, neighbors can bond at the gaming tables, and live music and other events in the amphitheater foster community," said Mayor Steven Fulop.
It is the first statue citywide to honor an African American woman. Officials say even though Bethune is often portrayed in her senior years, the Jersey City sculpture is inspired by a younger version of Bethune in her late 20s and early 30s.
"This Mary McLeod Bethune monument will empower residents and visitors alike and encourage people of every age and ethnicity to embrace education and stand up for one's rights," said Chairperson of the Open Space Trust Fund Committee and Ward B Councilwoman, Mira Prinz-Arey. "This is a great way to pay tribute to Mary McLeod Bethune, someone who is important to Jersey City, while also bringing art into our public spaces with this sculpture."
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