Tennessee’s year-long commemoration and celebration of the Woman Suffrage Centennial offers a time to reflect upon an event that changed American history forever and truly demonstrates our state’s slogan, — “Tennessee, America at its best.” Join us in paying tribute to our state’s incredible role in the woman suffrage vote of August 1920, the culmination of 72 years of effort by three generations of women.
What’s so unique about Tennessee’s role in women’s right to vote? To become law, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution required ratification by 36 of the then 48 states. Tennessee became the last, best hope to complete ratification in the summer of 1920, earning the nickname “The Perfect 36.” Would Tennessee empower women across the nation with an equal voice at the ballot box?
Excitement and drama surrounded this historic moment, as the nation waited in suspense. Suffragists and anti-suffragists from across the state and across the nation descended on Nashville with hopes of shaping the outcome. Reporters from every major American newspaper flocked to cover the struggle.
At the special session that August, yellow roses on the lapels of suffragist legislators became the icon of the day, while “Antis” sported red roses. Tennessee’s “War of the Roses” turned the Tennessee State Capitol into a battleground, and the House deadlocked in a tied procedural vote. In a surprise twist, a 24-year-old East Tennessee legislator, wearing a red rose boutonniere, cast the pivotal “yellow rose” vote – thanks to an encouraging letter from his mother back home!
We invite you to take part in the commemoration from August 19, 2019, through August 26, 2020. We welcome your visit to TNWoman100.com, Tennessee’s official website, designed to inform, inspire, and involve. Learn about Tennessee’s emphasis on woman suffrage history in grades K-12 in 2019-2020, travel to see suffrage story sites, become engaged in events throughout the year to honor Tennessee’s critical role in our history, and more.
Hurrah and vote for suffrage!
Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial
Committee and Partners
The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial was created in April 2019 following the Proclamation of the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Centennial by Governor Mike Lee. The Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Year spans August 2019 to August 2020.
Under leadership from the Tennessee General Assembly, the Committee members include the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Tennessee Historical Commission, the State Historian, and the Tennessee Historical Society.