Dolly Parton Asks Tennessee Legislature Not to Erect a Statue of Her on Capitol Grounds...For Now
Dolly Parton has requested that the Tennessee legislature discontinue a push to have a statue of the legendary country singer-songwriter erected at the Tennessee Capitol.
Parton issued a statement on Feb. 18, saying, “I want to thank the Tennessee legislature for their consideration of a bill to erect a statue of me on the Capitol grounds. I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration.
Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time. I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I'm gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I'm certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean. In the meantime, I'll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.”
In January, Tennessee Rep. John Mark Windle proposed erecting a statue to Parton on the state Capitol grounds, “to recognize her for all she has contributed to this state.”
The proposal followed last year's push from historians to have a bust of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan member Nathan Bedford Forrest removed from the Capitol grounds. The State Capitol Commission voted in favor of removing the bust from the Capitol in July 2020 and petitioned the Tennessee Historical Commission to relocate the bust to the Tennessee State Museum. The vote by the Tennessee Historical Commission on whether or not to remove the Bedford bust from the Tennessee State Capitol has now been rescheduled to March 9.
Windle’s statue proposal was intended to honor Parton for her decades of positive contributions to her home state of Tennessee, including her Dollywood amusement park, the Imagination Library, donations to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, her contributions to help those impacted by wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in 2016, and most recently, her $1 million donation to COVID-19 research at Vanderbilt University, which helped fund the Moderna vaccine.