Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Nineteenth Amendment To The United States Constitution

Marker ID:  
Location: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN
County: Davidson
Coordinates: N 36° 9.018    W 086° 48.728
  36.1503    -86.81213333
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None


Nineteenth Amendment To The United States Constitution
The Right of Citizens of the United States To Vote Shall Not Be Denied

—Or Abridged By The United States Or By Any State On Account Of Sex —

How Tennessee Became "The Perfect 36"

Centennial Park was the site of several suffrage rallies in the 1910s as suffragist marched from the state capitol to the park. They gave speeches and performances to thousands in attendance to garner support for the 19th Amendments eventual passage in 1920.

In August 1920 Tennessee all-male legislature met for three weeks in special session to ratify-with a majority of but a single vote - the so-called Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Introduced into the legislature by a united Shelby County Delegation. This action marked the moment of enfranchisement for one-half of the country's adult population because Tennessee (which was immediately proclaimed "The Perfect 36" by commentators and cartoonist of the day) thereby became the pivotal 36th State needed to complete ratification by three-quarters of the then 48 states. It also marked the climax of 72 years of ceaseless campaigning by four generations of American women activist. Seasoned veterans of the suffrage struggle said this last battle - Armageddon in Nashville - was the toughest ever. The decisive drama that unfolded during those hectic days in Tennessee that summer must be counted as one of democracy finer triumphs. The most undeviating of American idealist, these persevering right-to-vote crusaders had become by 1920 as skilled at the art of the possible as any politicians this nation has ever produced. Even though they themselves did not yet have the vote to use as leverage to reward legislators who supported their cause or to punish those who did not. They triumphed. The suffragist won with luck pluck and the help of their true-blue men folk because they knew by long experience that the American system could be made to work and they made it work in Nashville for themselves and for generations of women to come.

The Five-Five Society & The Yellow Rose Society.