Beloved country star Dolly Parton has demurred to the installation of a statue in her honor on Tennessee Capitol grounds after state lawmakers proposed a bill to immortalize her likeness.
In the midst of last year’s BLM protests, an online petition was filed to replace the statues of confederate officers with the country icon. Parton’s philanthropic efforts through the Dollywood Foundation helped assist in the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine with a million dollar donation to Vanderbilt University’s coronavirus research.
“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 petition stated. “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.”
“I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else,” she humbly told Today about the significant donation. “When I donated the money to the COVID fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”
But when the Tennessee House committee passed a bill to erect a statue of the singer on Capitol grounds February 9th, Parton urged lawmakers to drop the legislation.
“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,” she wrote on Instagram.
“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,” Parton finished.
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) February 18, 2021