Before the 19th Amendment could be officially certified into the Constitution, three-fourths of the then 48 states needed to vote to approve ratification of the amendment. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. 100 years later, on August 18, 2020, the Commission celebrated this critical milestone of American democracy with virtual events and commemorations from 9am ET-12:30pm ET, with over 1,000 viewers tuning in on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter to honor the state that brought women’s suffrage across the finish line. The Tennessee General Assembly also reenacted Tennessee's dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment, livestreamed from the floor of the House chamber at the Tennessee State Capitol. Mother-daughter duo Senator Marsha Blackburn and Mary Morgan Ketchel joined the Commission for a tea-time reading and discussion of their book, Camilla Can Vote: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote.
War of the roses
The Commission produced a 6-minute video, The War of the Roses, telling the story of how Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
By the summer of 1920, with several states rejecting ratification and other states refusing to hold a vote, Tennessee was the last hope to ratify before the upcoming presidential election in November 1920. However, there was no guarantee that the Tennessee General Assembly would approve the amendment. Suffragists and anti-suffragists descended on the state’s capital to campaign for and against Tennessee’s ratification of the amendment. Suffragists showed their support for the amendment by wearing yellow roses, while anti-suffragists wore red roses. In this mini-documentary, the Commission shares the dramatic story that took place in the summer of 1920 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Welcome to Tennessee by Senator Marsha Blackburn
Senator Marsha Blackburn joined the Commission to kick off the day-long virtual celebration with a special welcome message.
Skydive Jump in Downtown nashville
The morning of August 18 in Nashville, Tennessee, the entire 11 person, all-female Highlight Pro Skydiving Team boldly took to the skies with purple, white, and gold colored smoke and streamers and huge replica suffrage banners to commemorate the centennial of Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment in partnership with the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument and the Commission.
Keynote Event: WSCC Interview with Senator Marsha Blackburn
Senator Blackburn joined the Commission’s Executive Director, Anna Laymon, for an interview on Tennessee’s pivotal role in the fight for the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote. The program also aired on C-SPAN, reaching a potential 40M+ viewers.