Media Resources

Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Resources for Members of the Media


This year of commemoration and celebration in Tennessee creates a time to reflect upon an event that changed American history and truly demonstrates our state’s slogan, “Tennessee — America at its best,” as our state pays tribute to its incredible role in the woman suffrage vote of 1920.

What’s so unique about Tennessee’s role in women’s right to vote? To become law, the 19th Amendment required ratification by thirty-six states. Tennessee became the nation’s last hope to complete ratification, earning the nickname “The Perfect 36.” Our state’s approval would empower 27 million women with an equal voice at the ballot box.

But this history isn’t stale and ordinary – it’s one of excitement and drama!

A special session in August 1920 met to consider the suffrage question. The yellow rose became the icon of the day on the lapels of supporting legislators. Opponents sported red roses. Tennessee’s “War of the Roses” turned the Tennessee Capitol into a battleground, with women “field generals” behind the scene. The Senate approved ratification by a large margin, but the House members tied in a procedural vote – and the suffrage cause seemed lost. Learn about the surprise twist when a 24-year-old East Tennessee legislator wearing a red rose boutonniere cast the pivotal “yellow rose” vote after receiving an encouraging letter from his mother back home!

As part of the yearlong celebration from August 19, 2019, through August 26, 2020, the Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial will work with partners to maximize the accessibility and availability of information about the incredible role our state played in changing history. We encourage journalists, media outlets, and all purveyors of news and information to use the resources provided by this website to inform, involve, and inspire all Tennesseans in this year-long observance.

As the pivotal state in this national commemoration, Tennessee holds a unique prominence and a unique story. Let’s partner to make the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial a landmark occasion by lifting up our fantastic story, making it long known to Tennesseans and Americans and highlighting the value of civic engagement.

In advance, please accept our thanks.

The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial

Governor’s Proclamation

View the Governor’s Proclamation that August 18, 2019 through August 18, 2020 will be known as the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial.

Woman Suffrage Timeline

We have compiled an extensive timeline of the events that led to Woman Suffrage in the United States, and Tennesse.

Tennessee and the 19th Amendment for Woman Suffrage

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee brought victory to the 72-year-long struggle to gain women the right to vote. Read the story of how it came about.

Historical Background