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Resolution RS2020-474

A resolution to encourage the Ringing of the Bells on August 18, 2020, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in conjunction with the opening of Votes for Women at the Nashville Public Library.         

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council in collaboration with the Council’s Women’s Caucus and the Mayor’s Council on the State of Women, is sponsoring a series of Resolutions to honor the women’s suffrage movement and to honor the Centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 2020; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee played an important role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, when women won the right vote; and

WHEREAS, On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment — the final state necessary for it to become law; and

WHEREAS, 100 years ago, Carrie Chapman Catt asked the League of Women Voters in every state to arrange a celebration of bells in their communities marking the historic achievement; and

WHEREAS, throughout cities and towns all over the country, school bells rang, factories and trains whistled, firehouse sirens blared, and car horns tooted at noon, but not in Nashville; and

WHEREAS, according to author Elaine Weiss of The Woman’s Hour, the Great Fight to Win the Vote, despite pleas of suffragists Catherine Kenny and Abby Milton on behalf of the Tennessee League of Women’s Voters to every major city in Tennessee, the bells and whistles were muted in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, in Nashville, the mayor claimed to be too distracted by the city’s streetcar employees’ strike to issue a proclamation for bells; and

WHEREAS, the Tennessean reported that “local conditions” prevented Nashville from ringing and whistling; and

WHEREAS, according to Weiss’ book, those “local conditions” probably had less to do with the streetcar strike than with the inclinations of the Davidson County’s delegation in the legislature, which flipped to the Antis and stood solidly against ratification; and

WHEREAS, with no proclamation, Metro Archives found that Nashville did not take part in the noisy nationwide activities; and

WHEREAS, other parts of Tennessee also resisted ringing bells, with indignation rallies held across Tennessee when the bells were scheduled to ring at noon; and

WHEREAS, the Nashville Banner ran a large ad asking the people of the state to “repudiate and condemn the request to celebrate the alleged ratification of the iniquitous Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as outlined by certain leaders in the suffrage ranks who were seeking to have the mayors of the various cities issue ‘jubilation’ proclamations”; and

WHEREAS, the Nashville Banner ad quotes Chattanooga Mayor Pro Tem Ed Bass’ proclamation, which said, in part, “I call upon all citizens of Chattanooga who respect our constitution and revere the traditions of our great state to bow their heads in memory of the final passing of the principles our forefathers fought for, the death of states’ rights and the complete nullification of the constitution of the state of Tennessee….”; and

WHEREAS, the Knoxville Journal reported that “the suffrage demonstration, which had been scheduled for noon yesterday, when it was planned to have all school and church bells rung and whistles of factories and locomotives blown, celebrating the ratification of the suffrage amendment to the constitution, failed to materialize, the only whistles noted at the noon hour being those usually blown at that time to send the workmen away to their homes or calling them to return to work”; and

WHEREAS, on August 18, 2020, the Nashville Public Library will open Votes for Women, a permanent interactive exploration of the power of women and girls, the power of voting and the power of power itself; and

WHEREAS, in conjunction with the Votes for Women opening, Nashville Public Library calls on Nashville to Ring the Bells at noon, August 18, 2020, to break the historic silence and pay tribute to the women and men who gave many years of their lives to win the vote for women; and

WHEREAS, schools, houses of worship, colleges and universities, and others, such as the 95-bell carillon at Bicentennial Mall, will participate with the Ringing of their Bells; and

WHEREAS, the Ringing of the Bells symbolizes the gains and influence of women in Nashville, our state, and our nation, and the continued fight for women’s equality; and

WHEREAS, the Ringing of the Bells sparks conversations about how far women have come for equality and how far women have to go; and

WHEREAS, the Ringing of the Bells also celebrates Nashville’s historic number of 20 women Council Members representing one-half of the Metropolitan Council, 100 years after women won the vote.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record and asks Nashville to join the Council in Ringing the Bells on August 18, 2020, at noon to recognize the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in Nashville, Tennessee, to encourage continued efforts for women’s equality and to celebrate the opening of Votes for Women at the Nashville Public Library.

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


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

Legislative History

Referred toRules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee

IntroducedAugust 4, 2020

AdoptedAugust 4, 2020

ApprovedAugust 5, 2020

ByMayor Cooper's signature

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

Last Modified: 08/06/2020 5:12 PM