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August 21

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More on The History of Woman's Suffrage


QUOTE by Carolyn Dickens.

from The History of Woman's Suffrage

Members of the national as well as local chapters ofthe National-American Suffrage Association crisscrossed Tennesse; they produced and mailed thousands of pieces of literature, and called on every Democratic and Republican official of note to ratify behind the cause to RATIFY.
      They didn't just send letters - they PERSONALLY called on each and every politician of note in the state.
      From the marvelous History of Woman Suffrage it is learned that hordes of anti-suffragists descended on the state
"many of them paid workers."
      Ironically, two of the antis' most effective workers were Kate M. Gordon of Louisiana and Laura Clay of Kentucky "ardent suffragists" but opposed to the Federal Amendment. The anti-suffragist machinations in Tennessee actually got so bad that a grand jury investigation was ordered! The Tennessee legislature met in special session 08-09-1920. It heard speeches from pros and antis for almost a week while deals were worked in committees and back rooms. Finally, on 08-17-1920, the Tennessee House committee reported in favor of ratification saying,
"...we take great pride in the fact that to Tennessee has been accorded the signal (sic) distinction of passing a resolution which will secure the final adoption of the 19th Amendment."
      Speaker of the House Seth M. Walker had pledged to support suffrage to win elective political support, "but bitterly opposed it through the entire session," and much of the legislative maneuvers which attempted to block the passage in Tennessee may be laid on his doorstep.
      On August 18 the tensions were unbearable. Speaker Walker tried a last-ditch effort to kill the resolution by tabling it. That failed and there were no other remedies.
      The vote came.
      T. A. Dobson was on a train leaving to see his sick baby and leaped off as it started when it was found that his vote would be needed to carry. (After he cast his vote, a supporter send him home on a special train.)
      R. L. Dowlen was carried to the Capitol on a stretcher after a serious operation to vote
      Yet it was a tie - 48 to 48 and there was young Harry T. Burns who had said he would vote yes if his vote was needed, no if not because his constituency was opposed. After his favorable vote, which served to ratify women's right to vote in the United States, the opposition charged him with bribery and other infractions.
      Burns then addressed the body in a point of personal privilege:

"I changed my vote in favor of ratification because I believe in full suffrage as a right; I believe we had a moral and legal right to ratify; I know that a mother's advice is always safest for her boy to follow and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification. I appreciated the fact that an opportunity such as seldom comes to mortal man - to free 17,000,000 women from political slavery - was mine. I desired that my party in both State and Nation might say it was a Republican from the mountains of East Tennessee, purest Anglo-Saxon section in the world, who made woman suffrage possible, not for any personal glory but for the glory of his party."

Harry Burns's mother sent her son the telegram that probably gave us the vote. It read:

"Hurrah! and vote for suffrage and don't keep them in doubt... I've been watching to see how you stood but have noticed nothing yet. Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. (Carrie Chapman) Catt* put 'Rat' in Ratification."

*CCC was president of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association of 3.5 million members.

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B. 08-21-1893, Lili Boulanger, French composer, first woman to win Grand Prix de Rome in 1913 for her cantata Faust et Helene. Wrote orchestral works, chamber music, and songs. Sister of famed music teacher Nadia Boulanger.

B. 08-21-1897, Constance McLaughlin Green, historian. Her mother disappointed that she had been denied a college education, encouraged CG; her father was chair of the history department of the University of Chicago. Washington: Village and Capital, 1800-1878 won the 1963 Pulitzer prize, 27 years after her father won his Pulitzer. CMG's daughter Lois is also an historian.

B. 08-21-1933, Dame Janet Baker, renowed opera and concert mezzo-soprano.

Event 08-21-1973, although the it attracted 41% of the time share, the re-run of the episode which had 47-year-old Maude (in the TV sit-com *Maud*) opting for an abortion did not have one single commercial sponsor. Several organized religious groups protested the episode and convinced almost 40 TV stations not to carry the show.

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      "I have an 18-year-old daughter, and how could I look at her and tell her that her opinion does not mean as much as some man's?"
            -- Carolyn Dickens, who heads the deacon board at First Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., quoted by Association Press 07- 24-98. The church withdrew from the Southern Baptist conference following the conference's resolution that said women were completely subject to the rule of men.

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