Tennessee played pivotal role in Suffrage Movement

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 19:20:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — This year marks a huge milestone in our nation's history. 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote and Tennessee lawmakers played a pivotal role to change the U.S. Constitution.

In August 1920, the Tennessee General Assembly passed it and handed the ballot to millions of American women. They were passionate women who fought to convince lawmakers around the country to support the women's right to vote.

In 1920, 36 of the 48 states had to ratify the amendment to make it the law of the land.

Tennessee was the final state to vote. It passed in the Senate easily but stalled in the House. Then the youngest House member, Harry Burn, of Niota, an anti-suffragist supporter stunned everyone. Burn says he read a letter from his mother, who urged him to change his mind and support women – so he did.

The final vote was 49 to 47. He changed his mind and changed the course of history forever.

To mark Tennessee's pivotal role, there are events planned in Nashville and across the country. Over the next year, NewsChannel 5 will share stories of the Suffrage Movement and the modern-day equality champions during this centennial celebration.