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Dolly Parton Fans Petition For Statues Of Her To Replace Tennessee Confederate Monuments

Dolly Parton Fans Petition For Statues Of Her To Replace Tennessee Confederate Monuments
June 17, 2020 - 22:04 / Lucas Anderson

Dolly Parton fans have launched a petition to replace monuments of Confederate officers in the state of Tennessee. Their alternative suggestion? Dolly Parton statues. Find out more below...

Native Tennesseans have their sights set on a better representative for their state's public monuments.

A petition on Change.org was recently launched seeking to honour Tennessee's own Dolly Parton rather than other controversial historical figures.

Today, the southern U.S. state still features statues that memorialize Confederate officers and others associated with the slave trade and Ku Klux Klan.

Dolly Parton statue petition launched in Tennessee

The online petition, which, as of Wednesday, is well on the way to its goal of 25,000 signees, makes its case for new statues of the legendary country musician: 

"Tennessee is littered with statues memorializing Confederate officers. 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," the pitch begins.

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Dolly Parton attends the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Music City Center on November 13, 2019

It continues: "Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton's philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better."

"From the Dollywood foundation that has provided books and scholarships to millions of American children, to the millions of dollars she has donated to dozens of organizations such as the Red Cross and COVID-19 research centers, Dolly Parton has given more to this country and this state than those confederate officers could ever have hoped to take away."

"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," the Change.org petition concludes.

Dolly Parton statue outside courthouse in Tennessee.

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The petition, titled "Replace All Confederate Statues with Dolly Parton," is directed at the Tennessee State Senate, the Tennessee State House, and state governor Bill Lee.

It also features a resources page that encourages additional reading on relevant history and background.

Problematic statues targeted during Black Lives Matter protests

In recent weeks, particular attention has been given to the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate officer, KKK founder, and slave trader. Singer Taylor Swift was among those to decry the continued existence of Forrest's monument and the state day that honours him.

"When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this," Swift, a Tennessee native, said in an Instagram post.

Swift's post also references a Nashville statue of Edward W. Carmack, who was a pro-lynching journalist. It was toppled during protests earlier this month. 

Such conversations surrounding problematic historical figures - and monuments to them - were once again revived in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter protests.