Lawmaker has plans to honor Dolly Parton with statue at Tennessee Capitol

Facts about multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and businesswoman Dolly Parton.

Statue of country music icon Dolly Parton could be added to Capitol grounds in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A statue of country music icon Dolly Parton could be added to the Capitol grounds in Nashville, Tennessee, if one state lawmaker gets his way.

Democratic Rep. John Mark Windle introduced a bill Tuesday that aims to honor Parton “for all that she has contributed to this state,” news outlets reported.

ExploreDolly Parton helped fund the COVID-19 vaccine research for Moderna

Aside from her status as a music icon, Parton is a lifelong philanthropist. She founded the Imagination Library, which mails books to children under the age of 5 across the world to improve child literacy, and her million-dollar donation to Vanderbilt University helped develop the highly effective Moderna coronavirus vaccine. Her advocacy for racial justice was recently celebrated in a mural in Nashville.

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2019 file photo, Dolly Parton performs at the 53rd annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Parton's $1 million gift to Nashville's Vanderbilt University helped researchers develop Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine, announced this week. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2019 file photo, Dolly Parton performs at the 53rd annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Parton's $1 million gift to Nashville's Vanderbilt University helped researchers develop Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine, announced this week. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Credit: Mark J. Terrill

Credit: Mark J. Terrill

Windle said the state capitol commission would solicit input to develop a plan for the statue, including its design, and he said it should face toward the Ryman Auditorium, where she sometimes performs. No taxpayer dollars would be spent according to the bill, which would create a fund for private gifts, grants and donations to pay for the statue.

“At this point in history, is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is (a) kind, decent, passionate human being?” Windle said Wednesday. ”(She’s) a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her.”

Last June, her fans led the charge to petition for the philanthropist and music legend to be immortalized with a monument in Tennessee that would replace the statue of Confederate general and early KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, which has resided in the state’s capitol building for more than 40 years. The petition, “Replace All Confederate Statues in Tennessee with Dolly Parton,” currently has more than 25,000 signatures.

ExploreIf Dolly Parton replaces Confederate monuments, it wouldn't be her first statue

“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,” the Change.org petition argues.

Parton has long been a champion of where she grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains and has promoted tourism to the area with her nearby Dollywood theme park. Her bronze replica in Sevierville has become its own tourist attraction, with fans coming from near and far to pose with it in photos they post on social media.

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