Should Tennessee residents be looking at statues of Dolly Parton instead of Confederate leaders? Many think so, according to a petition drive catching fire on Change.org.
The petition, begun last week, had more than 14,500 signatures as of Tuesday.
“Tennessee is littered with statues memorializing confederate officers. History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise. Instead, let us honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton,” reads the petition, started by Alex Parsons.
The petition notes that Parton has reached out when communities are in need.
“Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton’s philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better. From the Dollywood foundation that has provided books and scholarships to millions of American children, to the millions of dollars she has donated to dozens of organizations such as the Red Cross and COVID-19 research centers, Dolly Parton has given more to this country and this state than those confederate officers could ever have hoped to take away,” the petition says.
“Let’s replace the statues of men who sought to tear this country apart with a monument to the woman who has worked her entire life to bring us closer together.”
The concept created a lot of discussion on Twitter, drawing support from across the political spectrum.
Replace every confederate statue with a statue of Dolly Parton I think that would be nice pic.twitter.com/2zfyBcM5Ur
— Baba Yaga Says BLM, ACAB (@dumb_degenerate) June 9, 2020
Now this seems worthwhile: replace statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest—former delegate to 1860 Democrat National Convention, vicious slave trader & the founder of the KKK—with the great Dolly Parton. A win-win! https://t.co/PKGiBVXS8Z
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2020
#tnlawmakers Heed the @Change petition started by our community and begin this work by putting up a statue of @DollyParton , a national treasure, historian and powerful woman, in the place of those who don’t deserve this honor. https://t.co/9mb69n4z59 pic.twitter.com/2Ic80ZbyuU
— jordanriverwalk (@jordanriverwalk) June 15, 2020
Parsons said there was a serious message in his call for ridding Tennessee of Confederate statues.
“While the idea of replacing all of those monuments with Dolly Parton may seem funny, the history of those monuments is anything but,” Parsons said in a follow-up message on Change.org.
“The vast majority of these monuments to the confederacy were constructed in direct opposition to the reconstruction and civil rights movements of the early 20th century and the 60’s and 70’s. Memorials to the Confederacy were intended, in part, to obscure the terrorism required to overthrow Reconstruction, and to intimidate African Americans politically and isolate them from the mainstream of public life,” Parsons wrote.
Parsons wrote that the “vile views” of the Confederate States of America “have no place in our great state.”
“The confederacy and what it stood for is not worthy of the civic honor those monuments seek to impart. The tyranny memorialized in those statues can no longer be allowed to stand, be it removed or replaced by someone worthy of praise, such as Dolly Parton or other deserving groups and individuals,” Parsons wrote.
Even those not on the Dolly Parton bandwagon have called for Tennessee to take down Confederate statues.
If 30+ years after Reagan stood unwavering in front of leader of the ‘Evil Empire’ to denounce a symbol of division and hatred, while today @tnhousegop now cower before a cold, lifeless memorial to an evil man representing division and hatred than I fear for future of my party.
— Jason Emert (@JasonEmert) June 16, 2020
As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things. Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 12, 2020
Last week, a committee of the Tennessee state House rejected a proposal to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest that sits in the Tennessee Capitol Building, according to WRCB-TV.
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