Suffragists Tullahoma

The GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club is hosting a special suffrage celebration at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at South Jackson Civic Center. The public is invited and encouraged to come. From left are Kathryn Hopkins, Anne Wonder, Renee Keene and Mary Anne Scott in front of the “Wisteria Maiden” mural. Hopkins and Scott are dressed as 20th century suffragists.

Aug. 18, 1920, saw Tennessee become the final state to ratify the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

One hundred years later, the GFWC Centennial Woman’s Club is inviting the Tullahoma community to one of the city’s most historic sites to honor that monumental vote.

According to organizers, the event is designed to celebrate women’s right to vote as well as Tennessee’s key role in the historic decision.

“It was on the 18th of August in 1920 that Tennessee voted to accept the ratification – we were the 36th state to do that,” said Mary Anne Scott.

She and other organizers dressed up like the original 20th century suffragists in front of the city’s newest mural, with all white dresses and the eponymous purple and gold ribbons emblazoned with the words “VOTES FOR WOMEN” in order to commemorate the promotion of the event.

The city’s newest mural, “Wisteria Maiden,” was painted by Tokyo-born and Oklahoma City-based muralist Juuri as part of the recent Walls for Women mural festival hosted by DMA Events. The not-for-profit art advocate group is based in Tullahoma and kicked off its own celebration of women and the suffrage movement in Tennessee with the festival.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 on the steps of South Jackson Civic Center, 404 S. Jackson St.

The event’s featured speaker will be Dr. Nancy Schurr, an associate professor of history at Chattanooga State Community College, according to Renee Keene with the Centennial Woman’s Club. She told The News Mayor-elect Ray Knowis will also be in attendance to read a special proclamation for the event.

Additionally, members of Girl Scout Troop 2163 will be laying wreaths on the graves of suffragists who were buried in Oakwood and Hickerson cemeteries, Keene said.

A special new exhibit, entitled “Rightfully Hers” is currently on display inside the civic center, according to organizers.

Light refreshments will be provided at the event. Masks are requested to be worn at the event in order to comply with CDC guidelines during the ongoing pandemic.

In the event of rain, the event will be moved inside and participants will be asked to social distance in the auditorium.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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