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by Morgan Byrn
August 18, 2020 marked 100 years since Tennessee became the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. A week after Tennessee became known as the “Perfect 36,” the 19th Amendment was officially certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920. This historic day is now recognized as Women’s Equality Day. Many might wonder how they can celebrate this monumental occasion during a time of social distancing. We have compiled a list of places to visit and activities that you can do, both in person and online, to experience the history of the women’s suffrage movement throughout the state.
Mary Church Terrell Historic Marker in Memphis (TN Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail)
There are several statues and markers around the state of Tennessee that you can visit. These memorials honor those who fought to help win the vote for women. When visiting, bring a yellow rose (or any yellow flower) and place it on the memorial to show your support.
Ida B. Wells Marker, Beale Street, Memphis
Mary Church Terrell Marker, Beale Street, Memphis
Sue Shelton White Monument, Jackson City Hall, Jackson
Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument, Centennial Park, Nashville
Anne Dallas Dudley Marker, Centennial Park, Nashville
Frankie Pierce Park, Lifeway Plaza, Nashville
Tennessee Triumph Suffrage Statue, Public Square Park, Clarksville
Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial at Market Square, Knoxville
Burn Memorial depicting Febb and Harry Burn, Market Square, Knoxville
Abby Crawford Milton, Philips Park, Chattanooga
Many of the trailblazing women who played a role in the Tennessee suffrage movement are buried in cities across the state. For those who would like to pay their respects, locate their resting site and place a yellow rose on these women’s graves.
Lide Meriwether, Elwood Cemetery, Memphis
Elizabeth Lyle Saxon, Elwood Cemetery, Memphis
Anna Dallas Dudley, Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville
Juno Frankie Seay Pierce, Greenwood Cemetery, Nashville
Constance Rudolph Brown, Sango Cemetery, Clarksville
Lizzie Crozier French, Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
Abby Crawford Milton, Forrest Hills Cemetery, Chattanooga
Food always has a way of bringing people together. Suffragists sold cookbooks to help raise funds for the cause as well as showcase their talents in the kitchen. Suffragists in Nashville baked cakes for a suffrage baseball game in 1916. Cakes were a favored sweet treat, with Suffrage Angel Cake being a popular choice to bake. Enjoy this recipe from the 1915 The Suffrage Cook Book with the modern conversions. Try it with a side of (yellow) lemonade!
SUFFRAGE ANGEL CAKE, RECIPE OF ELIZA KENNEDY
11 egg whites
1 c. cake flour
1½ c. granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 pinch salt
Beat egg whites until light, not stiff. Sift sugar seven times, add to egg whites. Sift flour nine times then mix in cream of tartar. Add flour mixture to eggs and sugar, then mix in vanilla. Place batter in angel food cake pan. Bake cake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Cool upside down on cooling rack.
Taken from the Heinz History Center article titled Cookbooks with a Cause
Recipe and Image of Eliza Kennedy in Suffrage Cookbook, 1915 (Heinz History Center article titled Cookbooks with a Cause).
For families wanting to gather together and read about suffrage with your children, here are some recommendations for reading, some of which can be found in our Museum Store. You can also enjoy our Museum Storytime reading of The Voice that Won the Vote, located on our YouTube Channel.
The Voice that Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History by Elisa Boxer
Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face by Larissa Theule
Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote by Dean Robbins
Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Senator Kristen Gillibrand
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragist, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff
The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote (Adapted for Young Readers) by Elaine Weiss
Camilla Can Vote: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote by Morgan Ketchel and Senator Marsha Blackburn
Cover of The Voice that Won the Vote by Elisa Boxer
Febb Burn wrote to her son, Harry Burn, to vote for suffrage. For people with children, or even those young at heart, here are some fun ideas you can do with kids of all ages. To honor significant women in your life, write a letter and tell them how they have impacted you. Younger children could even draw a picture or write a story about them. If you have the opportunity, mail the letter to her. On August 26, wear suffrage colors! Yellow, purple, and white represented the movement. O put on your best modern-day suffrage outfit and post to social media. Be sure to tag the Tennessee State Museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so we can share our favorites!
This coloring book page features a banner that belonged to the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association and was used in the session of the legislature in August 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Print it out at home and #ColorOurCollections. Download it here and then explore more coloring book pages on TSM Kids.
In addition to visiting Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote at the Tennessee State Museum (open through March 28, 2021) there are additional events taking place throughout the state. Keep an eye on TNWoman100.com, the website of The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial, for more events and exhibitions, including the locations of To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote, a pop-up exhibition and collaboration between the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
We hope this blog helps inspire you for ways to celebrate the passing of the 100th anniversary this August!
Morgan Byrn is an educator and the Children’s Gallery Coordinator at the Tennessee State Museum.
Image header includes photographs from ClarksvilleNow.com, TN Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, and TNSuffrageMonument.org