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A statue of Dolly Parton could replace a memorial to a slave trader and KKK leader who massacred hundreds of Black men

Patrick Kelleher June 15, 2020
Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton. (Ian Gavan/Getty)

The bust of an early Ku Klux Klan leader could be replaced with a statue of Dolly Parton, according to a local Republican politician.

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a slave trader and the first Grand Wizard of the Klan, and played a role in the massacre of more than 300 Black soldiers in Fort Pillow. He died in 1877.

In 1978, a bust of Forrest was installed at the Tennessee Capitol, but it might finally be removed in the face of anti-racism demonstrations across the world.

Republican Jeremy Faison, who is chairman of the House Republican Caucus, has argued that the bust be removed and placed in the state museum, according to The Tennessean – and he thinks a statue of Dolly Parton would be the perfect replacement.

A statue of Dolly Parton could be erected in the Tennessee Capitol.

“How about getting a lady in there?” Faison said.

“My daughter is 16, and I would love for her to come into the Capitol and see a lady up there.”

He continued: “What’s wrong with [the suffragette] Anne Dallas Dudley getting in that alcove?”

“What’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?”

Faison insisted that he is not trying to whitewash history, but said it has to be told”the right way”.

“Right now there are eight alcoves in the Capitol. Seven are filled with white men.”

Jeremy Faison says racist historic figures don’t need to have statues to be remembered.

He also pointed out that Hitler’s actions have not been forgotten despite the fact that there are no statues erected to him.

“There’s plenty of people who are notable characters. That doesn’t mean they deserve to be in a place of honour.”

Dolly Parton is both a gay icon and is one of Tennessee’s most famous exports.

What’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?

The country singer has been recording music ever since her debut album in 1967 and is widely beloved by queer people everywhere.

The comments come after protesters across the world have begun tearing down and vandalising statues dedicated to racist historic figures.

Activists in Bristol made headlines across the world when they tore down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

More: Dolly Parton, KKK, ku klux klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, racism, Tennessee

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