‘USA Today’ Names Dolly Parton Among Its Women of the Century
In honor of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote in America when it was ratified in 1920, USA Today is spotlighting influential women in all 50 states and U.S. territories who have shaped the country over the last 100 years. Parton appears alongside generations of women from her home state of Tennessee, including iconic track and field runner Wilma Rudolph, civil rights activist and Democratic state Rep. Lois DeBerry and human rights activist Renata Soto, who founded Conexión Américas, an organization in Nashville that helps immigrants adjust to city life.
In an expansive interview, Parton looks back on her upbringing in rural East Tennessee, as well as career highlights, attributing her status as a universally beloved figure to her genuine love for all people.
"I think that one of the things is because I love people, and I think they feel that, they sense that," she explains. "I've been around a long time, and I grew up with humble beginnings. I think that people know that I've worked hard to get where I'm at and that I've stayed sane, for the most part."
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She also shares that peace is the one great hope she wants to see more of in the world over the next 100 years. "If we could just be peaceful, if we could just try to work through things with a little more peace, a little more love, a little more harmony, a little more understanding. I pray about it every day," she says.
Other women included on the list are Gloria Estefan, Ida B. Wells, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and more.
See Dolly Parton's Life and Career in Pictures