Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative

Tennessee played a pivotal role in the quest for woman suffrage in the United States. When the Tennessee General Assembly narrowly ratified the Nineteenth Amendment on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth of forty-eight states to ratify the amendment. Dubbed “the perfect 36,” Tennessee provided the necessary three-fourths majority for an amendment to the Constitution. This historic milestone was the compelling pinnacle of a fascinating fifty-year struggle across the state.

The Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative is preparing for the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote by:

• Celebrating Achievement
• Experiencing the Places
• Exploring the History
• Documenting the Stories
• Continuing the Legacy


“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”  —  Nineteenth Amendment.

Signature Events
2018 Knoxville, East Tennessee History Center
Saturday, March 17, 9:00 a.m., EST: Teacher Workshop: East Tennessee Historical Society and Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU; Guest Scholar: Dr. Carole Bucy
Sunday, March 18, 1:00 p.m., EST: Speakers: Marjorie Spruill, Carole Bucy, and Wanda Sobieski
2019 Memphis, Pink Palace Museum
March 29-30, 2019
2020 Nashville, Tennessee State Museum

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Collaborative Partners
Center for Historic Preservation—Middle Tennessee State University
East Tennessee Historical Society
Humanities Tennessee
March to the 19th, Chick History
National Civil Rights Museum
Pink Palace Museum
Teaching with Primary Sources—Middle Tennessee State University
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
Tennessee Historical Commission
Tennessee Historical Society
Tennessee State Library & Archives
Tennessee State Museum

Independent Scholars/Advisors
• Beverly Bond, University of Memphis
• Carole Bucy, Davidson County Historian
• Lee Curtis, Tennessee State Museum
• Mary Evins, American Democracy Project, MTSU
• Mary Ellen Pethel, History Department/School Archives, Harpeth Hall
• Nancy Schurr, Chattanooga State Community College
• Minoa Uffelman, Austin Peay State University

Resources for Educators

“I shall never be as thrilled by the turn of any event as I was at that moment when the roll call that settled the citizenship of American women was heard.”  —  Abby Crawford Milton of Chattanooga

Anne Dallas Dudley worked statewide and nationally for woman suffrage. This image of Dudley and her children was circulated widely to challenge negative stereotypes of suffragists. Courtesy of the Tennessee Historical Society.

Eight women founded the Nashville Equal Suffrage League in 1911, and Anne Dallas Dudley served as the first president. This banner features the suffrage colors of yellow and white. Courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum.

Mary Church Terrell of Memphis championed racial and gender equality throughout her life. Founder and first president of the National Association of Colored Women, she was also active in the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Abby Crawford Milton of Chattanooga served as the last president of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association and spent the month of August 1920 in Nashville lobbying legislators. She is seen here (center right) shaking hands with Speaker of the Tennessee Senate Andrew L. Todd after the Senate approved the ratification resolution. Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

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