On the unbearable hot morning of August 26th, 1920, anyone fanning themselves with that day’s Nashville Tennessean newspaper saw a frontpage photo of Gov. A. H. Roberts signing the state’s passage of the 19th Amendment.
The historic image capped what Montgomery County Historian Eleanor Williams later called “one of the most remarkable and successful nonviolent, civil rights efforts the world had ever seen.”
“The suffragists were harassed, attacked by mobs; and thrown in jail,” Williams wrote for the Montgomery County Historical Society website. “They re-emphasized the importance of the most fundamental democratic values – the right to vote and that a peaceful political change was possible.”
During those difficult, early years, a Clarksville lawyer named Austin Peay supported the effort by joining the Tennessee Men’s League in November 1914. This year, in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of that amendment, the University that now bears his name will host a series of events to commemorate the historic milestone.
Several events are still in the planning stage and will be announced later, but an initial listing includes the following:
- September 30th, 2019: 1:30pm – Discussion of the 2018 book, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics,” in the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center.
- October 3rd, 2019: 6:00pm – Screening of the 2004 film, “Iron Jawed Angels,” about the American women’s suffrage leaders Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, in the APSU Morgan University Center (MUC) ballroom. This event is open to APSU students, faculty and staff.
- November 11th, 2019: 12:15pm – Discussion of the 2018 book, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics,” in the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center.
- Spring 2020, date TBD – The APSU Athletics Department will host an art exhibit depicting how the women’s suffrage movement influenced women in sports, particularly at Austin Peay State University. This exhibit is tentatively scheduled for February to coincide with National Women and Girls in Sports Day.
- March 26th, 2020: 4:00pm – Paula F. Casey, women’s suffrage scholar and author of “The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage,” will give the inaugural Betty Joe Wallace Lecture in MUC 303-305. The lecture series is named after the late Betty Joe Wallace, APSU history professor and first director of the University’s Women and Gender Studies Program.
- 31, 2020 – Discussion of the 2018 book, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics.” The time and location will be announced closer to the event.
Several other Austin Peay State University departments are developing events to commemorate the anniversary.