State representative Mark Windle introduced a bill that calls for the “creation of a fund for the design, construction and installation of the statue, which would be added to the Nashville grounds in recognition of Parton’s contributions to her home state,” according to The Hill. It would be financed by gifts, grants and donations specifically allocated to the project.
The new bill comes after thousands signed a petition to replace statues of Confederate leaders with a statue of the country music icon instead.
“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,” Alex Parsons, who started the petition, said at the time. “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.”
Fox 17 reports that Windle’s bill says, “The statute of Dolly Parton is to be located on the capitol grounds facing in the direction of the Ryman Auditorium. The commission shall solicit input from the public and other interested parties for purposes of developing the plan, including proposed design concepts for the statue.”
The Grand Ole Opry member has yet to comment on the proposed legislation. But of all her successes, Parton says her biggest one for her personally is her philanthropic Imagination Library, which has far exceeded her original goal.
“That is one of the things I am proudest of, of all the things that I’ve done since I’ve been in the business,” Parton told Marie Claire. “My dad — and a lot of my relatives, and a lot of people in that part of the country [where I’m from], but especially my dad — couldn’t read and write. He was kind of embarrassed by that, and he thought it was too hard of a thing to learn to do after he was grown. And I just remember feeling bad for my dad because he was so smart. And I thought, ‘Lord, if he’d had an education, no telling what all he could have been.’”
I’d hoped that it would [be] there, in the county, maybe just a few counties over,” she continued. “But then the governor at the time was a man named Phil Bredesen, wonderful man, and he got wind of the program, and he said, ‘Well, this is a great program. Let’s take this all over Tennessee.’ So we did. And the next thing you know, we went into Canada, and now we’re all over the world, different parts. And so we’ve given away like 150 million books. And my dad got to live long enough to see it doing well.”