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A march of white sashes: 19th Amendment celebrates 100 years

BY BRITNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Women wearing white sashes marched through downtown Elizabethton on Tuesday, Aug. 18. 
The sashes included the phrase “Votes for Women.”
Members of the Julius Dugger – John Carter Chapter NSDAR  of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) met outside of the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library in honor of the 19th Amendment’s centennial anniversary. 
 
Lois Shults-Davis, the chaplain of the chapter, said the goal of the event was to honor the work of suffragettes.
 
“Our intention was to honor the efforts of women who worked so hard for 72 years to obtain the right to vote,” she said. 
 
This event, which included social distancing and wearing masks, was the first in-person event held by the chapter since March. Other meetings prior have been by ZOOM.
 
The desire to be careful at this gathering was further fueled by the recent loss of a member to COVID-19.
 
As the event began, Shults-Davis shared the history of the suffragist movement, followed by details of that important day on August 18, 1920, when Tennessee became the Perfect 36.
 
In this included the importance of yellow roses (a symbol of support for the movement, opposing would wear red roses) and Harry T. Burn, the representative who broke the tie that allowed Tennessee to vote in favor after his mom told him to. 
 
“It was a big deal when Tennessee was the 36th state to approve it to the Constitution,” she said. “We want to remember that by gathering and talking about it.”
 
After Shults-Davis shared the background behind the movement and the historical significance, attendees were given a copy of the ratified amendment to read aloud.
 
It states the following:
Section 1: The right of the citizen of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. 
Section 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 
 
Attendees marched, holding signs of the milestone and wearing sashes, from the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, through the war memorial, to Sweetsie Treatz. 
 
To women, Shults-Davis shared why voting is so important. 
 
“Voting is the right of suffrage, our opportunity to redress with the government with whatever issues we have, and if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain,” she said.