The 19th Amendment celebrates its centennial
Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2020
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BY BRITTNEE NAVE
100 years ago, history was made for American women.
On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, allowing women the right to vote. Tennessee played a valuable role in this as the Perfect 36, or the final state needed for the amendment to be ratified.
On that fateful day 100 years ago, a tie breaker was needed to ratify the amendment or not. The decision would make history.
Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old freshman delegate to the Tennessee House of Representatives, would be that break. To the shock of anti-suffragists, Burn voted yes, making Tennessee the Perfect 36 after receiving a letter from his mother telling him to vote in favor.
To commemorate the milestone, a resolution was presented at the Carter County Commission meeting on Monday. The resolution details the women’s suffrage movement as well as Tennessee’s role.
As the resolution wraps it states the following: “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board reaffirms its desire to continue strengthening democratic participation and to inspire future generations to cherish and preserve the historic precedent established by the 19th Amendment.”
This resolution was passed unanimously.
Commissioner Ginger Holdren, a proponent of this resolution, was previously approached by both the Overmountain Republican Women’s Club and the Carter County Democratic Women’s Club about the centennial.
“Though the national divide between political parties is the greatest of my lifetime, it gives me hope when our local women’s groups — Democrats and Republicans — come together for a cause,” she said. “Pat Buck and Juanita McKinney, the leaders of those groups, want to celebrate our country’s recognition of the female voice.”
Holdren reacted with gratitude at the resolution’s passing.
“We are grateful that the Carter County Commission passed a resolution commemorating the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment for women’s suffrage,” she said.
To further celebrate the milestone, Holdren said there will be a donation of a yellow rose bush to the grounds of the county courthouse. The rose is symbolic of the suffrage movement.
In what was known as the “War of Roses,” suffragists dawned yellow roses while anti suffragists dawned red roses. The yellow rose bush symbolizes those suffragists.
Since the ratification of the 19th Amendment a century ago, women have voted, joined the workforce and are now in offices of power and leadership across the nation thanks to Tennessee’s Perfect 36.