Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame hosting state women’s suffrage traveling exhibit

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WATE) — A traveling exhibit exploring the history of the women’s suffrage movement is making a stop at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. 

“To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote” will be on display Aug. 20 through Oct. 1. The display is a new partnership with the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

“To Make Our Voices Heard” depicts Tennessee’s dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920 and the years that followed.

“As we commemorate the historic vote that took place at Tennessee’s State Capitol in August of 1920, we want to honor those individuals who played key roles in the journey to gain voting rights for women,” Ashley Howell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum, said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share these stories across the state.”

The exhibition is constructed of multiple dynamic panels, offering guests a chance to see archival images, engaging stories, and introductions to the leaders of the fight for and against the cause of woman’s suffrage. The stories begin by detailing the early challenges of racial and gender discrimination and continuing to the organization of African-American and white women’s associations to encourage political engagement.

The display also includes a piece on Febb Burn of McMinn County, whose letter to her son, Harry T. Burn, resulted in a last-minute vote that helped change women’s history in the United States forever.

“Tennessee’s role in becoming the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment not only solidified women’s right to vote but propelled women across the country to opportunities and futures they never thought possible,” Chuck Sherrill, state librarian and archivist with the Tennessee State Library & Archives, said. “The hope of the committee is this centennial celebration will do the same all across our state.”

Another exhibit feature includes a Tennessee map, highlighting suffragist activities across the state, including in Knox County, where Lizzie Crozier French gave the first public address by a woman suffragist on a Knoxville street in February 1917.

The project is also funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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