Thousands sign petition to replace Tennessee Confederacy memorials with Dolly Parton statues

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TODAY -- Pictured: Dolly Parton on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Dolly Parton on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

As a debates wages on in the US as to whether monuments to those linked to the Confederacy should still be standing, a petition has been launched to replace such statues in Tennessee with a real icon of the state; Dolly Parton.

Petition creator Alex Parsons thinks Parton, "a true Tennessee hero" should be honoured instead due to her music as well as extensive charity work.

"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," the petition reads.

Read more: Dolly Parton: I suppose I am a feminist

Parsons added: "Dolly Parton has given more to this country and this state than those confederate officers could ever have hoped to take away."

A bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is displayed in the Tennessee State Capitol Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee lawmakers remain torn on whether to support a proposal for the removal of a contentious bust of the former Confederate general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
A bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is displayed in the Tennessee State Capitol Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee lawmakers remain torn on whether to support a proposal for the removal of a contentious bust of the former Confederate general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

As of midday Tuesday, around 13,000 signed the petition which has a goal of 15,000 signatures.

It comes as in the wake of global anti-racism protests there have been calls to remove monuments to racist historical figures who were actively involved in the oppression of black people.

In Tennessee, there have been calls to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Confederate soldier, which sits in Nashville's capitol building.

Last year it was reported that Republican state Representative Jeremy Faison suggested removing the bust and replacing it with one of the 9 to 5 singer.

A Dolly Parton statue on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A Dolly Parton statue on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“If you want to preserve history, then let’s tell it the right way,” he said. “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 someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?”

Read more: Dolly Parton donates $1million to coronavirus research

Taylor Swift is also among the voices criticising the existence of the statue in her home state. Last week, the wrote in a tweet: "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."

Protesters toppled the statue of Edward Carmack outside the state Capitol. Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)
Protesters toppled the statue of Edward Carmack outside the state Capitol. Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)

A statue of Edward Carmack, a newspaper editor who wrote pro-lynching editorials, was toppled outside the State Capitol in late May.

Debates on statues have proved an international talking point, with some protestors taking direct action.

In Bristol, protestors pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston while in Belgium statues of Leopold III, who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans, have been defaced.

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