BHA Celebrates August 26, 1920, 
The Day Women Received the Right to Vote

Sponsor a Suffragrist Poster for the YWCA!

Wonderful poster designs of suffragists have been created for use in local celebrations of the ratification of the 19th ammendment. A short bio of the suffragist will be added to each poster. The posters will first be displayed in downtown Bristol businesses beginning on August 26.  They will then be offered to the libraries in the region, schools, and to other public community venues for display throughout the year.  You have a unique opportunity to help with this educational project by sponsoring the purchase of the posters for $25.00 each.   Please share this opportunity with friends who you think would be interested in helping. The YWCA is managing this project with the Bristol Historical Association. Please email Kathy Waugh with any questions at KWaugh@ywcatnva.org.  If you would like to make a donation, please send your check, marked "Window Sponsor" and made payable to the YWCA to:
YWCA - 106 State Street - Bristol, TN 37620
Or you may donate online at https://www.ywcatnva.org/

Remembrance Celebration
of Women's Equality Day 
Bristol TN-VA
August 26th

Activities will be held from 10:30 am -3:00 pm on August 26th at the Bristol Train Station. Members of the public are invited to wear white and to walk downtown commemorating the centennial anniversary.  Masks or face coverings are requested, and social distancing will be practiced. Store windows will be decorated with posters of suffragists. Activities will also include information tables, photo opportunities, suffragists in costume on property, voter registration, and it is hoped that commemorative postage stamps will be available. Thanks to Joyce Kistner, Mary Beth Rainero, and Barbara Smith, the Bristol Historical Association will have a display table at the Train Station. BHA members Jackie Dennison and Nancy Arnold are participants on the committee planning the event. The community is encouraged to ring bells and make noise in celebration of the centennial anniversary at noon!

 Suffragettes in Pennsylvania made a 4-month, 5,000-mile road trip to all of that state's 67 counties with the "Women's Liberty Bell" or "Justice Bell." Throughout the journey the bell's clapper was chained, preventing it from ringing and symbolizing how voiceless women felt without the right to vote. 

Presented by Nancy Arnold
August 10, 2020

Did you miss this historic event?
Don't worry!  The recording can be viewed at:

Nancy Arnold and Charles Flannagan

Milly Rainero was chosen to introduce the program, having won a DAR award for her portrayal of suffragist Ivy Carter as an 8 year old girl and as an adult.  

"It's June 4, 1919, and I'm reading the newspaper in my kitchen while eating a biscuit and drinking a cup of hot, steamy tea. My name is Ivy Carter. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you can guess what I just read about, I'll be amazed. I read that the 19th Amendment has just been passed by the United States Congress. Let my tell you about the Amendment. The 19th Amendment states that the United States provides men and women with equal opportunities which include voting rights. Congress just took a vote and now it has to be ratified by 36 different states before it becomes a law. 
I remember being a very little girl attending the Seneca Falls Convention. I am 78 years old now, but I still remember almost every detail. Thanks to the Seneca Falls Convention, some states allow women to vote. It was held on July 19th and 20th in 1848. It was the first woman's rights convention. It took place in New York. Over three hundred people attended the event. I remember hearing Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton speak. Lucretia Mott was an abolitionist, a Quaker, social reformer, and a women's rights activist. 
The reason we had the Seneca Falls Convention was for the social, civil, and religious rights for women. Social, which is the right to own property, civil, the right to vote, and religious rights, being able to follow your own beliefs. I also saw Frederick Douglas. He was the only African American male who attended the convention. Women had no right to vote, to have proper education, no property ownership, and no child custody. I hope all of that will change soon. Sixty-eight women and thirty-two men signed the Declaration of Sentiments. The Declaration states, "All Men and Women are created Equal." 
Aaron Sargent was a strong advocate of women's suffrage. He introduced the 19th Amendment. He was a senator from California. Guess what! In 1887 the Amendment was voted on and rejected by the Senate! Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met many years before the Convention at an anti-slavery Convention, but were not allowed in the anti-slavery Convention because of their gender, and women were not allowed to come. They were supposed to stay home and do housework, cook, and take care of the children at home. I am hopeful that we will reach thirty-six states while I'm still living. I also hope we will ratify this amendment in no time. I am hopeful that you believe in women's rights and that you enjoyed my story. Overall I think that there were many important people that we should give thanks to for helping to make the 19th Amendment happen."

 The Story behind how Women's Right to Vote became a part of the US Constitution August 26, 1920

Prior to the start of the General Assembly session on August 9th, both supporters and opponents had lobbied members of the Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives. Though the Democratic governor of Tennessee, Albert H. Roberts, supported ratification, most lawmakers were still undecided. Anti-suffragists targeted members, meeting their trains as they arrived in Nashville to make their case. When the General Assembly convened on August 9th, both supporters and opponents set up stations outside of chambers, handing out yellow roses to suffrage supporters and red roses to the "Antis."  As the House prepared to take up the issue of ratification on August 18, lobbying intensified.  The vote on the resolution would be close. Representative Harry Burn, a Republican, had voted to table the resolution both times. When the vote was held again, Burn voted yes. The 24-year-old said he supported women's suffrage as a "moral right," but had voted against it because he believed his constituents opposed it.  The same day ratification passed in the General Assembly, Speaker Walker filed a motion to reconsider. When it became clear he did not have enough votes to carry the motion, representatives opposing suffrage boarded a train, fleeing Nashville for Decatur, Alabama to block the House from taking action on the reconsideration motion by preventing a quorum. Thirty-seven legislators fled to Decatur, issuing a statement that ratifying the amendment would violate their oath to defend the state constitution. The ploy failed. Speaker Walker was unable to muster any additional votes in the allotted time. When the House reconvened to take the final procedural steps that would reaffirm ratification, Tennessee suffragists seized an opportunity to taunt the missing Anti delegates by sitting at their empty desks. When ratification was finally confirmed, a suffragist on the floor of the House rang a miniature Liberty Bell.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly approved the Nineteenth Amendment, with 50 of 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voting yes. This provided the final ratification necessary to add the amendment to the Constitution, making the United States the twenty-seventh country in the world to give women the right to vote.  Upon signing the ratification certificate, the Governor of Tennessee sent it by registered mail to the U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby, whose office received it at 4:00 a.m. on August 26, 1920. Once certified as correct, Colby signed the Proclamation of the Women's Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the presence of his secretary only. 

Sewing stars on a suffrage flag

Congress proposed the Nineteenth Amendment on June 4, 1919, and the following states ratified the amendment.
  1. Illinois (June 10, 1919)
  2. Wisconsin (June 10, 1919)
  3. Michigan (June 10, 1919)
  4. Kansas (June 16, 1919)
  5. Ohio (June 16, 1919)
  6. New York (June 16, 1919)
  7. Pennsylvania (June 24, 1919)
  8. Massachusetts (June 25, 1919)
  9. Texas (June 28, 1919)
  10. Iowa (July 2, 1919)
  11. Missouri (July 3, 1919)
  12. Arkansas (July 28, 1919)
  13. Montana (July 30, 1919) (August 2, 1919)
  14. Nebraska (August 2, 1919)
  15. Minnesota (September 8, 1919)
  16. New Hampshire (September 10, 1919)
  17. Utah (September 30, 1919)
  18. California (November 1, 1919)
  19. Maine (November 5, 1919)
  20. North Dakota (December 1, 1919)
  21. South Dakota (December 4, 1919)
  22. Colorado (December 12, 1919) (December 15, 1919)
  23. Kentucky (January 6, 1920)
  24. Rhode Island (January 6, 1920)
  25. Oregon (January 12, 1920)
  26. Indiana (January 16, 1920)
  27. Wyoming (January 26, 1920)
  28. Nevada (February 7, 1920)
  29. New Jersey (February 9, 1920)
  30. Idaho (February 11, 1920)
  31. Arizona (February 12, 1920)
  32. New Mexico (February 16, 1920)
  33. Oklahoma (February 23, 1920)
  34. West Virginia (March 10, 1920, confirmed on September 21, 1920)
  35. Washington (March 22, 1920)
  36. Tennessee (August 18, 1920)
The ratification process required 36 states, and completed with the approval by Tennessee. Though not necessary for adoption, the following states subsequently ratified the amendment. Some states did not call a legislative session to hold a vote until later, others rejected it when it was proposed and then reversed their decisions years later, with the last taking place in 1984.
  1. Connecticut (September 14, 1920, reaffirmed on September 21, 1920)
  2. Vermont (February 8, 1921)
  3. Delaware (March 6, 1923, after being rejected on June 2, 1920)
  4. Maryland (March 29, 1941, after being rejected on February 24, 1920; not certified until February 25, 1958)
  5. Virginia (February 21, 1952, after being rejected on February 12, 1920)
  6. Alabama (September 8, 1953, after being rejected on September 22, 1919)
  7. Florida (May 13, 1969)
  8. South Carolina (July 1, 1969, after being rejected on January 28, 1920; not certified until August 22, 1973)
  9. Georgia (February 20, 1970, after being rejected on July 24, 1919)
  10. Louisiana (June 11, 1970, after being rejected on July 1, 1920)
  11. North Carolina (May 6, 1971)
  12. Mississippi (March 22, 1984, after being rejected on March 29, 1920)
With Mississippi's ratification in 1984, the amendment was now ratified by all states having existed at the time of its adoption in 1920.

The 19th amendment's ratification process was unanimously confirmed by the Supreme Court in February, 1922.

At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug of New York, in 1971 and passed in 1973, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as "Women's Equality Day." The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

"Ratified!" is a new exhibit on display about the Women's Suffrage Movement in the state of Tennessee on display at the Tennessee State Museum.

And now, the rest of the story... 

Click the link below to read it!
How a 24-year-old Tennessee Legislator Gave Women the Right to Vote:  Or...Always Mind Your Mother!

The final vote in the "War of the Roses" came down to Harry Burn who reversed his anti-suffrage vote after receiving a plea from his mother. The heated battle over ratification in Tennessee became known as the "War of the Roses," as suffragists and their supporters wore yellow roses and "Antis" wore red. The resolution for ratification passed relatively easily in the Tennessee Senate, but the House was bitterly divided. The final outcome, on August 18, came down to a tie-breaking reversal by Harry Burn, a young red-rose wearing representative who had received an important message from his mother.

Join the National Women's History Museum
for Free Centennial Screenings
Celebrating the Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Followed by a Live Discussion with the Filmmaker 
Wednesday, August 26 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Join the National Women's History Museum and filmmaker Amanda Owen on August 26, 2020 at 2 p.m. ET for a free screening of Finding Justice: The Untold Story of Women's Fight for the Vote. This short documentary tells the story of how a 2,000-lb. bronze bell became a celebrated symbol of the women's suffrage movement. The creation of suffragists in Pennsylvania who were agitating for the right to vote, the Justice Bell helped rally support around the cause in the last crucial years leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment. 

Followed by a Live Panel Discussion with the Filmmakers
Wednesday, August 26
5pm PT / 8pm ET
Join the National Women's History Museum for a special screening of two short films about suffragist Inez Milholland: Inez Milholland - Forward Into Light and Into Light. The films will be followed by a panel discussion with actress Amy Walker, producer Martine Melloul, and Forward Into Light filmmaker Martha Wheelock. Wheelock's short documentary, Inez Milholland - Forward Into Light, will introduce you to Milholland, the woman who rode the white horse as a Joan of Arc on March 3, 1913. This film will be followed by Into Light, which takes us to Blanchard Hall in Los Angeles, on October 23, 1916, as Milholland addresses 1,500 cheering and curious attendees. The outcome of that evening would be an inspirational and emotional impetus for the final push for woman suffrage. 

In addition to the screenings, please join us on August 26 for our two virtual "Determined to Rise" panel discussions, one with the Newberry Library in Chicago (4 p.m. ET), which explores Chicago's African American women in the fight for the vote, and one with the Michigan History Center, in collaboration with Michigan Women Forward (11 a.m. ET), which focuses on suffrage in the West.

National Women's History Museum | 703.461.1920 | info@womenshistory.org | womenshistory.org

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Editor's Assistant and Proofreader, Carolyn Williams

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