Washington, D.C. – One hundred years ago, Tennessee became the “Perfect 36th” state when it ratified the 19th Amendment. It took over 70 years of tireless efforts by generations of suffragists to enfranchise American women under the United States Constitution.
To honor this anniversary, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and I assembled a special project for the Smithsonian. We recruited 22 of our female colleagues to write essays about what the centennial means to them, the challenges they faced on their paths to the U.S. Senate, and their hopes for our future.
- The exhibit, “Senators on Suffrage,” may be viewed here.
- Read my piece printed in the Tennessean here.
- An in-person exhibit will follow when the museum reopens, but in the meantime, you can learn more here.
Honoring Tennessee’s Role In Suffrage
In the summer of 1920, the nationwide movement to secure voting rights for women turned its attention toward Tennessee, the last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. This final battle for suffrage played out at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville where local, state and national figures converged.
The Hermitage Hotel served as the headquarters of both the pro- and anti-suffrage forces as they lobbied state legislators. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, stayed there for nearly six weeks, strategizing and whipping pro-suffrage support ahead of the legislature’s final vote.
On Tuesday, I spoke at the Hermitage Hotel’s suffrage commemoration, where they officially unveiled their new National Historic Landmark plaque. This designation came after Senator Alexander and I encouraged the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to recognize the hotel’s history.
Women’s Suffrage Commemorative Coin
You may remember that President Donald Trump signed my Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act into law last year; and now, the U.S. Mint has officially released the coin and medal authorized by the Act. These keepsakes serve as an important reminder of the history that led us to where we are today. You can order the commemorative coin here and the suffrage silver medal here.
The fight for women’s suffrage was a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and it’s important to continue teaching younger generations about the battle the suffragists endured. I’ve created an online quiz with 19 facts on suffrage to help parents educate their children. Check it out here.
President Trump signed a presidential proclamation declaring August as National Suffrage Month. Here’s to the next 100 years!
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- Information regarding COVID-19 in Tennessee can be found here.
- You can call the Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line from 10:00am to 10:00pm CT at 877.857.2945.
- Information for cleaning and disinfecting your home when someone is sick can be found here.
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