Update: In a February 18 statement posted to Twitter, Dolly Parton shared that she is not in favor of the current legislation calling for a statue of her to be placed on the Tennesee capitol grounds. The country singer wrote that she is "honored and humbled" by the gesture, but has asked state legislative leaders to remove the bill from consideration.
"Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time," she wrote in her statement. "It’s not that she doesn’t want the acclaim of her own statue, now just isn’t the right time," Parton said. She added that in the meantime, she'll "continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud."
Original story published on 2/12/21
This past summer, protests flared up across the U.S. in response to the murders of Black Americans, often at the hands of the police. During this time, many statues and monuments linked to racism and oppression became increasingly controversial. In Tennessee, as in many other states, residents asked for the removal of several Confederate statues. Some folks took it a step further and argued that the statues be replaced with a more current, bona fide Tennessee icon: Ms. Dolly Parton.
Well, it looks like the 25,000 voices who signed this Change.org petition in favor of the statue were heard! Last month, Democratic representative John Mark Windle introduced a bill calling on the state to commission a statue of Dolly Parton for placement on the capitol grounds. More specifically, it would face the Ryman Auditorium ( a.k.a. the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry). On February 9, the House Committee for Naming and Designating unanimously voted to pass that bill, as WKRN reports.
"Dolly Parton is a kind, decent, caring, compassionate person," Windle told the outlet. "Her impact has been much greater than a politician or a stateswoman or statesman, and we ought to honor her while we still have her," he noted.
The bill will now head to Tennessee's House and Senate, as well as the local government for consideration. Although this is only the first step, it's exciting to see action being taken on this proposal.
As a refresher, Parton, 74, was born and raised in Tennessee and still currently resides in the state. Tennessee is also home to her highly popular amusement park, Dollywood.
Want to learn more about statue removal? Read this preservationist's guide here.
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