Public Monument Planned to Celebrate Tennessee’s Role in Ratification of 19th Amendment

Clarksvillian Constance Rudolph (first row, center) is only one identified. Location and date unknown.

The Clarksville 2020 Vision Committee is planning a public monument to celebrate Tennessee’s special role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment and to encourage commemoration of its 100th anniversary in August 2020. Intensive research in recent months by a small group of volunteers has revealed a forgotten legacy of Clarksville suffragists.

The committee’s research has turned up the following pieces of information:

  • April 1914 – Clarksville Equal Suffrage League formed; officers elected in June; 40 members
  • July 1914 – CESL held an open meeting at the home of Minnie Barksdale; over 75 attended; speeches by President Stella Morgan, Vice President Emma Lupton and Texas suffragist Mrs. Lockwood Wallis
  • August 1914 – Delegation of 50 local women urged U.S. Rep. Joe Byrns to endorse Lulu Epperson for Clarksville postmaster
  • September 1914 – CESL met at home of Emma LaPrade where Morgan and Wallis made speeches
  • November 1914 – Clarksville delegation attended National Woman Suffrage Convention in Nashville
  • November 1914 – TN Men’s League formed to support suffrage; Austin Peay a member
  • May 1915 – Nashville ESL hosts parade from State Capitol to Centennial Park
  • May 1915 – Clarksville women travel to a state ESL conference in Tullahoma and assist forming a league there
  • February 1918 – CESL meeting at Emma Lupton home. Sending TESL dues in order to attend the Memphis convention in March
  • April 1918 – Noted suffrage leader Lucy Barnham spoke at Lulu Epperson’s Hotel Montgomery

Research for the remainder of 1915 – 1918 has not yet been completed.

  • April 1920 – Women endorse poll tax in name of equality
  • May 18-19, 1920 – Meeting in Nashville billed as the last convention of the TN Suffrage League to be dissolved and the League of Women Voters created
  • May 29, 1920 – School bond election; first time women vote in Montgomery County
  • June 1920 – Governor to call General Assembly into special session for suffrage amendment and tax issues
  • July 1920 – Clarksville-Montgomery County Women Voters’ League formed; 25 charter members ready for action
  • August 12, 1920 – TN Senate passes amendment 25-4
  • August 18, 1920 – House passes 49-47, then Speaker Walker changes his vote to make final count 50-46
  • August 24, 1920 – Governor certified
  • August 26, 1920 – U.S. Secretary of State signed
  • November 1920 – First regular election for TN woman voters

Learn more by reading Montgomery County Women’s History by County Historian Eleanor Williams.