News Flash

All News

Posted on: August 11, 2020

Community urged to ring bells at noon Aug. 18 to celebrate suffrage vote

Suffrage vote scene

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. –  County Mayor Jim Durrett and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts want bells to ring out at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 18 in celebration of women’s voting rights.

The mayors have jointly proclaimed Aug. 18 as “Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial Day” in Clarksville and Montgomery County and request that churches and community members join in by ringing their bells to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tennessee General Assembly’s historic ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Tennessee, as the final state needed for ratification, holds a special place in passing the 19th Amendment, which extended voting rights to women across America. State legislators came through with a two-vote victory margin on Aug. 18, 1920, with the law becoming effective eight days later.

While bell ringing will mark the day of the vote, Clarksville will begin the celebration on Saturday, Aug. 15, with a suffrage march from the County Courthouse to Public Square at 5 p.m., followed by dedication of  the “Tennessee Triumph” statue and monument at 6 p.m. 

The public is invited to attend and encouraged to wear yellow, purple, or white clothing – the colors associated with the suffragist movement. Organizers also remind everyone to wear face coverings and to social distance during the event, in keeping with COVID-19 precautions.

The statue, by Nashville sculptor Roy Butler, will make Clarksville a stop along the state’s Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, stretching from Chattanooga to Memphis. Ellen Kanervo,  executive director of the Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council, and local historian Brenda Harper co-chaired the Tennessee Triumph Steering Committee, a group of 20 local women who raised money for the monument and commissioned its creation.

Here is the full proclamation:

Mayors  Proclamation

Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial Day

 

WHEREAS, citizens of Clarksville and Montgomery County will soon celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the history of Tennessee and our community holds an important moment in the work to make certain that women could fully participate in America’s great Constitutional Republic; and

WHEREAS, Montgomery County State Representative Guy W. Wines introduced a bill in the Tennessee Legislature in 1869 to grant suffrage to Tennessee women. His proposal did not gain traction.

WHEREAS, in the late 1800s, African-American women formed the National Association of Colored Women and these women devoted their time to cultural, political or charitable work within the community. They couldn’t vote, but they became a powerful force in Clarksville, and

WHEREAS, a chapter of the Equal Suffrage League was established in Clarksville in 1914, and nearly 100 women and men attended the League’s first meeting at the Madison Street home of Minnie Barksdale, wife of Leaf-Chronicle publisher and editor W.W. Barksdale, and 

WHEREAS, thirty-nine local women were mentioned in various newspaper accounts of suffrage activities, many with names such as Crouch, Cunningham, Patch, Peay, Rudolph, Runyon and Winn -- family names still common in our community today, and 

WHEREAS, after decades of arguments for and against women’s suffrage, Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment in June 1919. After Congress approved the 19th Amendment, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of the amendment for it to become law. This process is called ratification, and

WHEREAS, in August 1920 pro-suffrage activists gathered in Tennessee’s House Chamber, their yellow roses signifying the blossoming of a movement that began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and would culminate in Nashville after 35 states had previously ratified the 19th Amendment; and

WHEREAS, Phoebe Burn’s letter to her son, Representative Harry Burn, gave him the confidence to remember the women writing "hurrah and vote for suffrage!" ultimately casting the deciding vote; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Burn is a part of a storied legacy of Tennessee women, including those in Montgomery County who fought for the right to vote, and

WHEREAS, African American women also played a crucial role in the struggle for suffrage in Tennessee, establishing voter education organizations that helped register other African Americans in their communities. These women recognized that voter turnout was an important aspect of suffrage, and

WHEREAS, without Tennessee’s ratification, it is unlikely that women would have been able to vote in the November elections of 1920, and the worthy cause of women’s suffrage could possibly have been delayed for several more years.

NOW, THEREFORE, WE, JIM DURRETT, Mayor of Montgomery County, and JOE PITTS, Mayor of the City of Clarksville, do hereby jointly proclaim August 18, 2020, as “Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial Day” in Clarksville and Montgomery County, and request that churches and interested community members throughout the County ring bells at noon on August 18 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Tennessee State Legislature’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving all American women the right to vote, and that all citizens join us in this worthy observance.

Suffrage vote scene

(Images are from the Tennessee State Library and Archives)

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in All News

Parks Poster on Bus

CTS honoring Rosa Parks this week

Posted on: December 1, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City offices to close for Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 24, 2020
Wear a Maskv6

County Mayor extends mask order

Posted on: November 18, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full (3)

City tax payments are due by Feb. 28

Posted on: November 13, 2020
CFR Garage

CFR breaks ground on maintenance garage

Posted on: November 12, 2020
Veterans Day 2020

CTS buses to roll on Veterans Day

Posted on: November 9, 2020
Wear a Maskv5

UPDATED: County Mayor extends mask order

Posted on: October 27, 2020
SPOOKY SPECIAL 2020

Spooky Special ready to roll again

Posted on: October 26, 2020
Good bags

Street Department offers fall cleanup

Posted on: October 7, 2020
City of Clarksville blue full

Mayor, Council work on revised 2021 budget

Posted on: September 29, 2020
Civitan Map

COVID-19 testing site to change hours

Posted on: September 18, 2020
CPDlogo(1)

Clarksville Police seek community input

Posted on: September 15, 2020
cts Logo (1)

CTS invites public to online meeting

Posted on: September 14, 2020
IMG_5887

County Mayor relaxes mask-wearing order

Posted on: September 6, 2020
IMG_6235

Downtown parking plan takes effect Sept. 8

Posted on: September 3, 2020
20200828-FrostyMorn-3336

Demolition work begins on Frosty Morn

Posted on: September 1, 2020
Wear a Maskv3

Durrett extends mask order to Sept. 7

Posted on: August 28, 2020
MPO logo

MPO posts Amended Participation Plan

Posted on: August 26, 2020
Public Icon

Census takers are at work in community

Posted on: August 14, 2020
Crime Stoppers 3

Crime Stoppers adds information kiosks

Posted on: August 12, 2020
Emancipation Day

Mayor proclaims Emancipation Day

Posted on: August 7, 2020
DT Parking 2

Commission OKs downtown parking plan

Posted on: August 5, 2020
IMG_5887

County Mayor renews mask order

Posted on: July 24, 2020
Sparkler2

City reviewing fireworks regulations

Posted on: July 16, 2020
IMG_3043

Mayors back CMCSS reopening plan

Posted on: July 10, 2020
Wayne Brian plaque

CDE Lightband honors Wayne Wilkinson

Posted on: June 26, 2020
New Adopt-A-Street Sign

Adopt-A-Street Program fights litter

Posted on: June 22, 2020
City Seal Black

SUMMARY OF THE MAYORS’ ORDERS

Posted on: March 31, 2020