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Resolution RS2020-498

A resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote.          

WHEREAS, August 18, 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote; and
WHEREAS, Tennessee played an important role by becoming the last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920; and

WHEREAS, making women’s right to vote a reality was a long and difficult journey which took decades of protest and effort, beginning in the mid-19th century with lectures, letters, marches, lobbying, petitions, and civil disobedience; and

WHEREAS, suffragists began their organized fight in 1848 when they demanded the right to vote during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York where they adopted the Declaration of Sentiments, which called for equality between the sexes; and

WHEREAS, following the convention in Seneca Falls, prominent free Black women abolitionists and suffragists subsequently attended, spoke, and assumed leadership positions at many women’s rights gatherings throughout the mid-1800s, including formerly enslaved Sojourner Truth, who delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at the national women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio; and

WHEREAS, the Civil War sidelined the suffrage movement as many women assisted in war efforts, and then encountered another setback when the movement became divided over the issue of voting rights for Black men; and

WHEREAS, in 1869, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), concentrating their efforts on a federal constitutional amendment that would grant women the right to vote; and

WHEREAS, that same year, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) and focused their efforts on state campaigns to achieve women’s suffrage on a state-by-state basis; and

WHEREAS, some prominent Black suffragists did become members of both women suffrage groups, including Hattie Purvis, who was a delegate to the NWSA as well as a member of the executive committee of the Pennsylvania State Suffrage Association, as well as Charlotte Forten and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin who both joined the AWSA; and

WHEREAS, in 1878, the NWSA along with the collective suffrage movement, successfully lobbied Congress for a constitutional amendment which was then ultimately defeated when it reached the Senate floor in 1887; and

WHEREAS, by 1890, suffrage leaders recognized the need to broaden and unite their base, and the NWSA and AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), with a strategy to win state-level support for the suffrage; and

WHEREAS, towards the end of the 19th century, many Black women formed their own local and regional women suffrage clubs in order to create a platform for Black women to advocate for woman suffrage and women’s rights causes, including the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896, led by its first national president Mary Church Terrell; and

WHEREAS, Black women’s efforts also linked suffrage to myriad political and economic issues in order to further their cause, and they employed many strategies to help secure women’s voting rights while simultaneously working to combat racism in the United States as well as within the predominately white national woman suffrage organizations; and

WHEREAS, in 1900, Carrie Chapman Catt succeeded Susan B. Anthony as president of the NAWSA and revitalized the organization, bringing renewed momentum to the women’s suffrage cause with subsequent successes of states extending voting rights to women; and

WHEREAS, by 1918, 15 states had extended voting rights to women and President Wilson finally fully supported the federal amendment; and

WHEREAS, finally, on May 21, 1919 after many failed votes, the federal amendment passed the House and subsequently passed the Senate; and

WHEREAS, then the work to pressure the states to ratify the amendment began, culminating with Tennessee’s historic and pivotal role as the 36th and final state needed for ratification; and

WHEREAS, ratification of the 19th Amendment enfranchised 26 million American women, with more than 8 million women across the U.S. voting in elections for the first time on November 2, 1920; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council recognizes and honors the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and further recognizes that the fight for women’s equality still continues today.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote, and further encourages continued efforts for women’s equality.

Section 2. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s)

Kathleen Murphy, Emily Benedict, Tonya Hancock, Zulfat Suara, Courtney Johnston, Jeff Syracuse, Kyonzté Toombs, Angie Henderson, Erin Evans, Bob Nash, Nancy VanReece, Joy Styles, Sharon Hurt, Ginny Welsch, Russ Bradford, Colby Sledge, Gloria Hausser, Jennifer Gamble, Tanaka Vercher, Freddie O'Connell, John Rutherford, Burkley Allen, Bob Mendes, Steve Glover, Jonathan Hall, Robert Swope, Sean Parker, Brett Withers, Zach Young, Larry Hagar, Kevin Rhoten, Thomas Cash, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Brandon Taylor, Thom Druffel, Russ Pulley, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Antoniette Lee, Dave Rosenberg

Legislative History

Referred toRules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee

IntroducedAugust 18, 2020

AdoptedAugust 18, 2020

ApprovedAugust 19, 2020

By:Mayor Cooper's signature

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615-862-6770.

Last Modified: 08/21/2020 1:21 PM