Fans of the iconic Dolly Parton have started a petition to remove a shameful remnant of Tennessee’s past, hoping to replace every Confederate statue in the state with one of Parton herself.
Started on Change.org less than a week ago, the ambitious proposal has already gathered more than 5,000 signatures, and seeks to get rid of every single statue of a Confederate officer in Tennessee — of which there are many. “Tennessee is littered with statues memorializing confederate officers,” the petition says. “History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise. Instead, let us honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton. … Let’s replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together.”
Now gathering momentum as anti-racism protests continue ripple across the nation, the fight against Tennessee’s Confederate statues is hardly a new one. Much of the anger stems from what is perhaps the state’s most high-profile example, a bust of former KKK leader and Confederate officer Nathan Bedford Forrest that has been enshrined inside the Tennessee Capitol building for over 40 years.
Back in 2019, Republican State Representative Jeremy Faison suggested the bust be removed once and for all, telling The Tennessean, “If we want to preserve history, then let’s tell it the right way. Right now there are eight alcoves [in the Capitol]. Seven are filled with white men. How about getting a lady in there? My daughter is 16, and I would love for her to come into the Capitol and see a lady up there. What’s wrong with Anne Dallas Dudley getting in that alcove? What’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?”
Parton’s name is now back on the table, but so far Faison’s efforts have so far fallen short. A state legislature committee recently voted not to remove the bust. And those familiar with Nashville will note there is also a massive, privately owned statue to Forrest just south of the city, which can be seen from Interstate 65 and is currently splattered with pink paint balls.
View the Change.org petition here.