Thousands sign petition for statue of Dolly Parton to replace KKK leader memorial in Tennessee

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 15 June 2020 11:30
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(Getty)

Current discussions surrounding problematic memorials are not new – they’ve been happening for years.

And nothing evidences this more than the sudden re-emergence of previous calls to replace Confederate monuments in the US with statues of less racist individuals.

First a three-year-old petition to replace all 32 Confederate monuments in Louisiana with Britney Spears statues was reopened, gaining thousands of new signatures.

Now people are re-sharing comments made by a Tennessee congressman about removing a statue of the first Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, Nathan Bedford Forrest, first reported in December 2019.

Rep. Jeremy Faison proposed potentially replacing the memorial to Bedford Forrest with a statue of one of Tennessee's true greats: Dolly Parton.

Faison had initially opposed the removal of the bust of the Confederate general, which is on display in Tennessee’s Capitol Building.

But then Faison began reading Bedford Forrest’s own words about his racist ideology. And he changed his mind.

Speaking to The Tennessean, Faison said the bust should be removed and placed in the state museum.

"I fundamentally reject any notion by someone saying that moving him to the museum is trying to whitewash history," he said.

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?

Faison also said the slaves involved in the building of the Capitol should be commemorated. 

And in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, with monuments all over the US being reconsidered, his comments have been picked up again by local outlets and social media users.

There's even a petition to make the suggestion a reality, with over 4,500 signatures at the time of writing.

Fantastic! In addition to writing more than 3,000 songs, Dolly Parton has donated more than 100 MILLION books to advance literacy in America and worked to end hunger,” wrote one Twitter user, reposting the story.

Some said they should go a step further.

Others had some alternative suggestions for Tennessee natives who could be honoured.

And then there were those who just wanted to remind everyone of why Dolly is so beloved.

Frankly, a Dolly statue seems like a win-win.

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