19th Amendment

Is What Happened in Rural America Every Woman’s Reality?

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The Ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was August 24, 1920, in Tennessee. A law doesn’t change people automatically. Let me explain.

“However, Tennessee reaffirmed its vote and delivered the crucial 36th ratification necessary for final adoption.”

from https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/woman-suffrage/ratification-tn#documents


January 3, 2019

 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Womens Right to Vote (1920)

The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose. Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state—nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them.

By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorate forever.

For more information, visit the National Archives’ Digital Classroom Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: .
Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408 • 1-86-NARA-NARA • 1-866-272-6272”

from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=true&page=&doc=63&title=19th+Amendment+to+the+U.S.+Constitution%3A+Women%27s+Right+to+Vote+%281920%29

Page URL: http://www.ourdocuments.g
19th Amendment
19th Amendment

What Did the 19th Amendment Accomplish for Women?

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and was ratified by three-fourths of the states on December 6, 1865. First, a law changed, not people. Similarly, the same thing happened when the United States ratified the 19th Amendment.

Mother arrived in this world 14 years after the 19th Amendment passed. She spent most of her life working for less than nothing (minus $50, I believe she said) as a bookkeeper for my grandfather, uncle, and dad. Not because she was dumb. She worked in Memphis before she married. She knew what was happening. Perhaps the men around her thought she was dumb.

I was born thirty-nine years after the 19th Amendment got ratified. I never knew anything about the amendment growing up. My family taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do. Only recently, did I realize I wouldn’t have time to do everything I wanted to do. Anything and everything – nobody explained about a time factor involved.

My dad wanted me to become an engineer. I’m not sure what Mom expected of me. I’m not sure she knew what she expected from herself. Dad defended Mom and Mom defended Dad. Similarly, as other children or young people, I occasionally tested the limits. Usually, they didn’t disappoint me, because they always defended each other.

I would learn too, not to talk about someone else with Dad. He sometimes viewed my talking as complaining and often discussed the situation with anyone he thought might cause me problems, sometimes to my surprise. If I didn’t want him to say anything, I wouldn’t say anything about someone. I didn’t want any backlash and I never wanted to cause any trouble for him. However, I knew I could depend on him if I needed him.

There was a difference between most of the country men I knew and a lot of the city men I knew. City men almost expected women to work – then come home and do everything there too. A lot of country men took the attitude that it was the man’s job to “bring home the bread” for the family and woman’s work is in the home. I know there are variations of the two ways of thinking. And it often takes two incomes to run a household these days.

Destiny – The Marriage That Collapsed Before It Happened

In High School, I dated someone for three years. The day we broke up is somewhat of a mystery to me. Everything I did for three years, depended on him – I waited by the phone; for the best, I thought, I restrained myself in every way; so he could graduate, I worked on his term paper; to learn more about him, I went to church with him and learned about his family; finally, I graduated from High School early in order to graduate from college early. I thought I was being a “good” girlfriend.

One night, in his truck, he described where we would live – in a house surrounded by fields so he could just walk out the door and start farming. My thoughts – Exactly where did I fit into this scenario – barefoot and pregnant? I was seventeen and had just started college and early for him. Me married? The only thing I remember after that is him saying, “You wasted three years of my life”.

I didn’t marry and I didn’t become an engineer. The rest of my life was going to involve what I wanted also, not just what everyone else wanted. I would never totally lose myself like that again. I could be whatever I wanted to be and nothing or nobody was stopping me.

My boyfriend would say, “There’s this other girl in my class that I really like” – I thought, or should have thought, “Oh, really”. I think I remember him saying, “I went out with a girl” – I should have thought, “Oh, really”. But no, I never thought or said anything. He said, “It’s OK if you end up with someone else.” – I never thought, “Oh, really”. Then it happened – Yes, really!! And I believe he pitched a fit – Really!! Or maybe I pitched a fit – I don’t know. (Now thinking to myself.) Well, you can just leave – yes, really. Sorry you wasted three years of your life! You’ll surely never make it the rest of my life – which I fully expect to be long and fruitful.

I never told anybody until now. Lord only knows what my father would have done. At least two people that knew my boyfriend asked me, “What did you do to that poor boy?” My answer was , “It was a long time ago”.

It took years for me to remember that he had wasted three years of his life. At least that’s what I believe he said. I approached where he lived one time (mostly to compare notes about what happened), but he wouldn’t talk to me. (Thinking out loud again.) Oh well. He didn’t mind working for my family to make money, but he wouldn’t talk to me. Whatever!

It may not have happened exactly like that. But that’s all I remember. After that, the door swung both ways.

If you had things to do, I did, too. Then, if you knew a girl that you liked a lot, I knew a boy that was magnificent. Finally, if you wanted to leave, the door was always open. Would I be nice? I garanteed nothing!

Destiny – The Marriage That Really Happened

Several years later, I met a guy who had basically the same values as I did. His parents were the same religion as mine. They were also the same age as my parents. They had children at almost the same time mine did. I didn’t realize all this at the time. It just happened.

My future husband didn’t get off easy though. I went to Florida with some guys I knew, before I dated him – for two weeks. He was sitting with our boss when I asked for an extra week off. My husband was an assistant manager, at the time. The company we worked for was anti-nepotism and ani-fraternizing. So he never said anything to our boss when I asked for extra time off. When he had something to do with the “guys”, I had something to do with the “girls”. We married the same year we met. It’s sometimes hard for me, but I always strive to keep my own identity. And want him to keep his, too.

I never recommend that anyone do what I did when dating. It just happened this way – it’s my story. Your story will most likely be different

We laughed at our wedding – it was great. We were in for a long ride, a journey. Hurricane David met us on our honeymoon in Florida. But that was OK. My new husband made me laugh – a lot.

We fought a lot, too – there were no guarantees in life. There were no guarantees in marriage. We lived in Memphis, Chattanooga, and then Atoka, Tennessee. His parents moved to an area north of Baltimore just as we moved to Atoka. There were no guarantees.

In Atoka, we lived in a clubhouse, on “Atoka Pond” road. My Dad fixed it up for us. It had a nice fireplace. But lightning struck the house one night. The bathtub blew off the wall and the microwave started by itself. Spooky!

The clubhouse had bullet holes in the front door because people shooting their guns were unaware (I guess) that it was there or that anyone lived there. I had a garden out back. The cows in the adjoining pasture often got out and trampled it. The owner would round up his cows and the garden would be safe for a while.

My husband worked for my dad, on the farm, and in the Fertilizer Plant. Later, he ran the country store in Atoka. He had never done farm work before, but he did his best. He asked my Dad and Mom for my hand in marriage and had the utmost respect for them.

In Chattanooga, I attended a trade school that taught about computers and computer languages. I interviewed at a company in Brighton, Tennessee. They had a computer and had chosen the software for that computer. My job was to make it work. I did. First, I knew nothing about bookkeeping. The accountant who worked there knew nothing about computers. We taught each other and we taught each other well! I don’t know what my wages were. Whatever they were, I’m sure they weren’t enough. But it was something! However, I did give up time with my first child and later with my second child because I was working.

So my husband was working at the store. I was working in Brighton. And I thought, “Why can’t I work at the store, too? It was my grandfather’s store after all. My husband would not be here if I hadn’t brought him.” I quit my job in Brighton and started to work for my husband at the store in Atoka. This was probably not my smartest move. I believed that my husband and I could work together like Dad and Mom did. No! There were many conflicts and we would never make enough money to send our children to the school where I had gone. The outcome – we eventually closed the store and got separate jobs in Memphis. My husband stayed at his job. I worked at one job then, eventually returned to Atoka and worked with Dad, Mom, and my sister.

Bottom Line – The Time I Worked and Served Atoka

While working with my husband at the store, I also worked part-time as one of two employees for the city of Atoka. Apparently, people forgot that memory long ago. Or so a current employee told me. The City probably got more attention than the store – my mistake again.

The City sponsored Homecoming ’86 – with little recognition for any of the people that actually worked on the Homecoming Committee or the book the committee published that year. I look at the book and automatically know who wrote certain articles. But I look again and there are no actual names on the different articles. The book did not even mention the chairman of the Homecoming Committee. The book fails to mention my Dad’s name for the stories he wrote, my husband’s name for the photos he took, and other names of people who worked on the book. That says a lot about our willingness to give things away. But I think that’s over. People in the area understand abuse much better now. Just like so many people in the United States.

During my time as City Recorder, the aldermen met personally with everyone in Atoka. In order to get the city sewage that people previously worked on, most of the landowners would sign over easement rights. That’s right, without these easement rights subdivisions with smaller amounts of land for each landowner could not be developed. The people, like myself, never knew that they could get paid for an easement. They only knew that the sewage easement meant the city and not the people handled cleaning out sewage lines if they needed unplugged. Many people hoped to get some benefit out of the agreement. Most people got no benefit.

Again – most people in the city limits of Atoka freely signed over their sewage rights. First, never knew more people would enter certain areas of our city because of deals. Then, we had no idea that many of these people would view native Atokians as lesser individuals than themselves. Finally, that our way of life questioned and our vote in the city made basically ineffective and insignificant. The sewage allowed for relatively small subdivision lots. “Free” sewage easements allowed Atoka to get a grant. Free easements were an anomaly and will probably never happen again.

Welcome to “your land is my land”, “this land is abandoned so we can take what we want”, “that looks like a good place to use our four wheelers instead of growing your crops”. “We don’t get involved unless there is a ‘no trespassing’ sign”. “Let me see how low I can buy your land for less since your husband/Dad died.”

About no trespassing – My father once told someone to get off his land. The doctor spent a long time picking the buckshot out of Dad’s back. Most people could do anything on his land they wished. But they couldn’t sell it or buy it unless they were interested in buying the London Bridge of course. Or unless high-interest rates made it hard to pay off loans so other people could buy the land for a little of nothing. This was a problem seen by both farmers and homeowners. But banks were bailed out by the United States government?? – That used to be my money, thank you…

Every piece of land has an owner, see the Tennessee Property Assessment Map for Tennessee Property, the property lines on these maps are not always correct though. Buy land, if you like, and be prepared to defend your rights to it for life or with your life, whichever the case may be.

My Opinion – My Exclusive Understanding of Fundamentals

Work is work, whether it’s at home or somewhere else. You don’t always get paid for work. Males and females are different. However, a female that does the same work as a male ought to be paid the same thing regardless of her gender. The work that someone does should not be restricted by their gender. Sorry, not sorry, if women could do work during World War II, they can do the same work now. Women can’t just be used, then thrown away until they are needed again. If a woman could fight during the U.S. Revolutionary War, they can fight now.

There are women who thought that if they gained rights, they would lose their “special” treatment. Dear ladies, not every woman gets “special” treatment. Some thought that they would have to be drafted like men. The draft is not presently being used.

Just because you have something better than me, does not make you better and vise versa. The Constitution is the law in the United States, not your opinion, not my opinion, and not another country’s or religion’s laws. There is a reason for the Bill of Rights. Figure out what it is, before trying to change it. The Constitution of the United States can only be changed with an amendment. All people deserve respect, but I don’t have to agree with them. If I don’t agree with them, it doesn’t mean I can’t be around them. If you don’t think you can respect me, that’s your problem, not mine.

by Stephanie

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