Last month, American Democratic state representative John Mark Windle introduced a bill to honour Dolly Parton. Born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, Parton is yet to let her fame stray her from home. Instead from as early as 1988, the multi-platinum recording artist has given back to Tennessee through the My People Fund and the Dollywood Foundation. Through these non-profits Parton has distributed books, scholarships, counselling, and food resources to her community.
Following discussions on how to honour Parton, a committee passed the bill on 11 February 2021.
In fulfilling the bill meant to honour the country music icon, one of the suggestions proposed that Tennessee replace a Confederate general monument with a statue of Parton. On 9 July 2020, the Tennessee Capitol Commission voted (nine to two) in favour of removing a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol. In addition to being a Confederate general, Forest was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who made his fortune as a slave trader and plantation owner. He also played a prominent role in the massacre of surrendered black Union soldiers in 1864.
Although the vote to relocate Forrest’s bust to the Tennessee State Museum happened last year, the process to remove the monument would likely not take place until mid 2021.
Although Parton says she is honoured and humbled by their intention, she has asked the Tennessee legislature to put their plans of erecting the statue on ice.
In a statement released on 18 February 2021, Parton said:
Until then, Parton says she will continue to “try to do good work to make this great state proud.”
Speaking to TMZ about Parton’s request, Republican Jeremy Faison said he appreciated the statement and believed Tennessee’s legislature would do the right thing and vote the bill down to honour her wish.