On July 11, 1920, the state of Tennessee agreed to call a special session of legislature to vote on Amendment 19 giving women the right to vote. On that day, the streets were full of people wearing either a yellow rose in favor or a red rose in opposition of the bill.
The youngest Senator in Tennessee’s Congress, twenty-two-year-old Harry T. Burn, from Niota, broke the tie vote. He was swayed by a telegram received from his mother just before he entered the chambers. Febb Burn reminded her son to do what was right… and remember to be a good boy.
As one would expect, there was much controversy about Harry’s decision. When asked about his vote his answer was, “I knew that a mother’s advice is always safest for a boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification."
Febb Burn and many other women of her generation sacrificed much and used their influence so that there would be a better world for their daughter and granddaughters. As we have enjoyed the fruits of their labors, so it is our responsibility to follow in their footsteps for generations to follow us.
Included on our table are books about Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage, which has a picture of Morristown’s beloved Evelyn Johnson on the cover. The Tennessee Blue for 2020 has a special edition yellow cover to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the suffrage. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s book, Camilla Can Vote, is also displayed on the table. We also have an old children’s library book titled The 19th Amendment. The official Suffrage flag is hanging on the wall in back of the table. The people pictured in the photos on the wall include Harry Burn and his mother Febb, as well as others who played important roles in the women's suffrage movement.
As women, it is our responsibility and our group’s goal to encourage young women to be all that they can be and to take their rightful place in our community and our country.