Tennesseans have disagreed on who deserves the honor of a statue on the grounds of the state Capitol. An attempt last summer to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan member, was blocked by state legislators, CNN reports. A lawmaker proposed replacing the Forrest bust with one of Dolly Parton in 2019, but that didn't happen. And a petition on change.org proposes a sweeping solution: Replace every Confederate statue with one of Parton. Possibly sensing a groundswell, another state legislator is trying again. House Bill 135 would add a Parton statue to the Capitol grounds, Billboard reports, facing Nashville's landmark Ryman Auditorium, where the star has often played.
The bill would establish a Dolly Parton fund to pay for the statue. The money would come from donations, gifts, and grants, per CNN. Rep. John Mark Windle's bill says the statue would "recognize her for all she has contributed to this state." The petition calls Parton "a true Tennessee hero," and that's hard to argue. She's raised millions of dollars to help others. Just in the past year, the singer has contributed $1 million to the development of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine and saved a 9-year-old from being struck by a vehicle. Parton hasn't commented about the possibility of a statue. "At this point in history," Windle said, per the AP, "is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is (a) kind, decent, passionate human being?" (Read more Dolly Parton stories.)