Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th amendment at 100

Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th amendment at 100

In Nashville, 1920 suffragists anxiously awaited the results of 36 state legislators vote for ratification of the amendment. In the House and Senate elections, the amendment had passed through by one vote. At last, the results were reported and suffragists were astounded. Harry Burn, staunch anti-suffragette, voted in favor of the suffragists, and that one vote awarded the affirmative votes needed to pass the amendments. Thus, the 19th amendment became law.

On Friday, May 1, RCLL partnered with the League of Women Voters (LWV), Riverside, for Law Day 2020. This year’s theme- Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th amendment at 100, commemorates the amendment which granted women the right to vote. The LWV, started by suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, also celebrates its centennial this year, making for a great fit for our Law Day celebration. Joan Donahue, President of LWV, shared a virtual presentation on the history of women suffrage from 1848-1920. Joan made history come to life, detailing the nail biting ups and downs of how women worked to get the right to vote, including the surprise support of Harry Burn as detailed above.

The attendees shared positive feedback after the presentation, with one attendee tuning in all the way from England!

Staff member Theresa shared that the presentation was a great summation of the inspiring history of the women’s suffrage movement. She was impressed by the diligence, commitment, courage, and passion the women displayed for over 70 years, fighting for this empowering right, the 19th Amendment. It reminded her of how one vote can truly make a difference, because of how close the votes were. Yay Harry Burn; for listening to the voice of reason (his mother wrote him a letter telling him to do the right thing.)

As an attendee at the LWV presentation, Michael thought that Joan’s presentation was very informative and inspiring. For instance, he did not know that Tennessee became the final state to ratify the amendment by just one vote, ensuring the amendment’s adoption. That just goes to show how important voting is and that every vote does matter. That single fact inspires him to get more politically active and become an advocate for voting rights.  

Law Day is held annually on May 1 to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. We are honored to partner with the League of Women Voters and to engage our community through virtual events to share in the power of the vote.

Written by: Jenna Pontious, Public Services Librarian 


By rcll

May 06, 2020

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