Celebrating A Century Of Suffrage

Local citizens will soon celebrate the century-old vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would ultimately give women the right to vote.

The House approved the women’s suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution on May 21, 1919, followed by the Senate on June 4, 1919.

Although Congress passed the proposed amendment, it had to be submitted to the states for ratification. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of 36 states to vote for ratification, thanks to Alpine native Governor Albert H. Roberts who was in favor of the amendment and convened a special session of the state general assembly to vote on the matter.

On that day, after a number of tied votes, Henry Burns of McMinn County changed his “no” vote to “yes,” and it became law nationwide.

Church bells rang across the nation in celebration of the ratification of the new law, but not in Tennessee.

To make amends for the lack of celebration in 1920, the Livingston Civic and Garden Club encourages all citizens to ring their bells on Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. to celebrate Gov. A.H. Roberts, Henry Burns and all of the women who fought so hard for the right to vote.

On Aug. 22 at 7 a.m., everyone is invited by the Livingston Civic and Garden Club to meet at Governor A.H. Roberts’ Law Office, located at the corner of Roberts and University streets to participate in a Suffrage March.

For more on this story, pickup a copy of this week’s Livingston Enterprise on newsstands now, or subscribe online at livingstonenterprise.net.

Leave a Comment