Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative Holds Second Symposium in Memphis

FREE EVENT49411104_2026487677387611_5829251565432602624_o
Saturday, March 30, 2019
1:00 – 4 :00PM

The Road to Suffrage: Memphis

In the Pink Palace Mansion Theater
Pink Palace Family of Museums
3050 Central Ave
Memphis, Tennessee


Join the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative for our second symposium in Memphis! Chick History is a member of the collaborative, with a mission of “Celebrating the Achievement, Continuing the Legacy” of the Nineteenth Amendment in Tennessee.

The public is invited to a free program at the newly renovated Pink Palace Museum as leading scholars discuss the suffrage movement in Tennessee and the important work of the women in the decades leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment. The program is presented by the Pink Palace Family of Museums with support from Vincent Astor, Phyllis Peterson, Ericson Group, the Center for Historic Preservation, and the University of Memphis Libraries.

Program Details

1:00pm – “When Women Do Military Duty”: Woman Suffrage in the Civil War Era
Dr. Nicole Etcheson, Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History, Ball State University

Most histories of woman suffrage represent the Civil War-era as a missed opportunity when women could have received the vote alongside black men but were abandoned by abolitionist men—black and white—who believed that it was “The Negro’s Hour” and withheld crucial support. But the Civil War created, rather than removed, obstacles to woman suffrage. Black men’s military service strengthened their claims to the vote and military service became the pre-eminent requirement for the vote in the late nineteenth century. Northern women failed to persuade Americans that their war work qualified as military service. They did not overcome the obstacle posed by military service until World War I.

2:00pm  – Charl Ormand Williams: A Career in Suffrage
Dr. Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman, Professor of History, Arkansas State University.

By examining the life and career of Charl Ormond Williams, this talk will explore something of the complexity of southern feminist political activism in the years prior to and following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Williams, a native of Arlington, Tennessee, began her political career as Superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools during the 1910s. Her expansion and improvement of black and white schools in her districts made her a national leader in the public education movement. As the battle for ratification reached its apex in Nashville in 1920, Williams effectively exercised her personal influence in Shelby County, reputation among female educators and national woman suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt, and support of Tennessee’s Democratic political leaders in that final successful struggle. In the 1920s, Williams’ feminist activism rose to greater heights. She was elected president of the NEA and, in the 1930s, president of the National Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.

3:00pm – ‘To Prepare Her for the Duties of Life’: Envisioning Black Womanhood in Post-Emancipation Memphis
Dr. Beverly Bond, Associate Professor of History, The University of Memphis

By examining the lives of particular African American women or African American women’s organizations, Dr. Bond will examine how black women negotiated boundaries of race, class, and gender in Memphis in the second half of the 19th century. This is a period of dramatic social, political and economic change. The talk will focus on black women’s 1) constructions of freedom and rights; 2) institution building; 3) challenges to segregation and racial violence; and 4) activities in the woman suffrage movement during this time.

For more information, visit the Facebook Event page.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s