A statue of Dolly Parton should replace a controversial tribute to former Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford in Tennessee, a Tennessee politician has suggested.
Since 1978, visitors to the Tennessee Capitol building have been greeted by a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate general and early Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
But now, Republican politician Jeremy Faison has called for the statue to be taken down and replaced.
“I fundamentally reject any notion by someone saying that moving him to the museum is trying to whitewash history,” Faison told The Tennessean. “If we want to preserve history, then let’s tell it the right way.”
He continued: “Right now there are eight alcoves [in the Capitol building]. Seven are filled with white men. [I could] think of 100 other people deserving of that post.”
“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 [women’s suffrage activist] Anne Dallas Dudley getting in that alcove? What’s wrong with someone like Dolly Parton being put in that alcove?”
Faison has also suggested building a monument to honor the slaves who built the Capitol Building, while the bust of Forrest should be placed in a museum to educate people about the Fort Pillow massacre of 1864 – where soldiers under Forrest’s command massacred African American troops.
Parton, who operates the state’s most successful tourist attraction, Dollywood, has been on the receiving end of threats from the Ku Klux Klan.
The music legend is a proud supporter of LGBT rights and even hosts “Gay Day” at her theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. She told ABC News last year that the event caught the attention of the KKK.
“When it first started there were people giving us threats, I still get threats,” Parton said. “But like I said, I’m in business. I just don’t feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody.”