Some events are worth celebrating all year long, and the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment is one of them. Indeed, 100 years ago, Tennessee was the 36th state (and the final state needed) to ratify this amendment. The actual anniversary is August 18, 2020, but Nashville is getting into the spirit well in advance. Check out this city-wide list of events honoring women’s suffrage and celebrating suffragists’ successful efforts that impacted future generations of women everywhere. (And be sure to bookmark this page and check back as we will be updating this list throughout the year.)
Through August 2020: Historic Nook Women’s Suffrage Takeover in the Grand Lobby of The Hermitage Hotel
The Hermitage Hotel, which opened in 1910, played a major role in the women’s suffrage movement by hosting both pro- and anti-suffrage groups as they lobbied Capitol Hill. You can learn more about that history by exploring the hotel’s private collection of artifacts. The display is in the lobby next to the front desk, and it will remain open throughout the year. For more information, visit thehermitagehotel.com.
Through August 2020: Oak Bar’s Suffrage-Themed Craft Cocktail Menu
Pro- and anti-suffragists lobbied for the right to vote inside the Oak Bar beneath The Hermitage Hotel. Therefore, it’s only natural that the bar honors that history by offering a craft cocktail menu boasting libations named after famous suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt and Ann Dallas Dudley. While prohibition may have been in effect during that time, word has it that many legislators and lobbyists “winked at the 18th Amendment while fighting for and against the 19th.” The hotel is also recognizing the suffrage movement efforts with special 1920 dinner menu features at the Capitol Grille. Visit thehermitagehotel.com to learn more about all of its events and unique tasting experiences.
February 2020 through November 2020: Saints or Monsters: Political Cartoons of the 19th Amendment
Through the use of satire and editorial cartoons, the Main Library is drawing attention to current issues by illustrating the political landscape. The political cartoons in “Saints or Monsters” offer a glimpse into history, depicting what was at stake for American women and our nation in the years leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. On March 7, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Main Library will also be hosting a viewing reception that’s open and free to everyone. For more information, visit Library.nashville.org.
February 2020: JOURNEY
Intersection presents its 2020 initiative LISTEN, a year-long project that looks at the connections between the 19th Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement through the music and story of Florence Price and excerpts from Nkeiru Okoye’s opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom. The ensemble will have concerts and discussions throughout February, and a complete list of dates and times are listed at intersectionmusic.org.
February 18 – 21, 2020: 72 Steps at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center
72 Steps, commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Nashville for school audiences, beautifully combines ballet with a compelling look at the suffrage movement and the continuing battle for female empowerment. Choreographer Gina Patterson explores human rights in this work that depicts the 72-year fight that broke down barriers. Running from through February 21, the performance is $8 per ticket, and open only to school groups. For details, visit tpac.org.
February 28, 2020: Women’s Suffrage Tour at the Tennessee State Capitol
This new guided tour offered by the Tennessee State Museum invites guests to the place where the 19th amendment was ratified: the Tennessee State Capitol. Learn out local suffragists gained support and what it was like as all of their efforts culminated into one life-changing vote. Tours begin at the information desk on the first floor. Reservations are only required for groups of 10 or more and can be made at tnmuseum.org.
March 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021: Women’s Suffrage Commemoration at the Parthenon
The Parthenon and Centennial Park are shining a spotlight on the monumental vote with an exhibit highlighting those who created the Woman’s Building at the 1897 Centennial Exposition. Programs, such as a panel discussion of women’s rights and a recreation of the suffrage walk, will also take place. You can find more information on events taking place at the Parthenon here.
March 9, 2020: The Kickoff for Women’s History Month at the Parthenon
Kick off Women’s History Month with a discussion about Alan LeQuire’s sculpture in Centennial Park that represents five of the women who made Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment possible. The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. with guest speaker Alma Sanford, the founder of the Tennessee Suffrage Monument. She will discuss what inspired the statue and how it came about. Hosted by AAUW Nashville, the Parthenon and the Centennial Park Conservancy, this event is free to the public, but seating is limited. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.
March 17, 2020: The Road to Suffrage Seminar at MTSU
Authors Dr. Laura Free and Dr. Minoa Uffelman will speak at the Student Union Ballroom at MTSU, moderated by Tiffany Moman. The free symposium is sponsored by the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative and the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund and takes place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It includes a Q&A session. Additional details can be found at mtsuhistpres.org.
March 26, 2020: In Dialogue: Suffrage, Style and Social Movements at the Tennessee State Museum
This free event, which occurs on Thursday, March 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., is the first in Nashville Fashion Week’s Learning Lab series. Held at the Tennessee State Museum, student designers offer their modern take on pieces in the women’s suffrage exhibit collection, emphasizing the role that self-confidence has played throughout history, and how fashion has inspired diversity and inclusion from 1920 until today. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.
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March 27, 2020 – March 28, 2021: Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote Exhibit
The Tennessee State Museum is beginning a year-long 8,000-square-foot exhibit showcasing the historic vote in which Tennessee played such a crucial role. With a display of artifacts, documents and even interactive elements, Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote allows us to explore the struggle that led up to the historical accomplishment. Admission is free, and additional details can be found at tnmuseum.org.
March 30, 2020: Celebration for the Acquisition of a Large Collection of Feminist Works at the Main Library
The Main Library will be hosting an event during the evening of Monday, March 30, 2020, to celebrate the acquisition of a large collection of feminist works donated by Martha Craig Daughtrey, Senior Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The exhibit includes four books with handwritten inscriptions by Susan B. Anthony. library.nashville.org
April 25, 2020: Clutching Pearls, Punching Ballots
Experience the power of the 19th Amendment through the lens of music. A concert of four to seven songs, paired with a short lecture for context, The Art Song Society presents Clutching Pearls, Punching Ballots, an evening that celebrates past and present female composers who’ve made an impact. Tickets are available through eventbrite.com.
May 23, 2020 – October 4, 2020: We Count: First-Time Voters at the Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum is illuminating the history of voting in the United States, including the first-time experiences of a culturally diverse group of local Nashvillians, with We Count: First Time Voters. Artists Beizar Aradini, Megan Kelley, Jerry Bedor Phillips, Thaxton Waters, and Donna Woodley will take shared stories about voting experiences and turn them into visual depictions. For more information, visit fristartmuseum.org.
June 2020: A Celebration of Suffrage at the Nashville Repertory Theatre
The Nashville Repertory Theatre is commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment with an evening of song, dance and spoken word. Local and national artists will be featured in this one-night-only event celebrating trailblazing women; date and time have yet to be announced. Visit nashvillerep.org for more information and updates.
June 5, 2020; July 3, 2020; August 7, 2020: Summer 2020 Female Artist Music Series in the Grand Lobby at The Hermitage Hotel
On the first Friday of June, July and August 2020, the historic Grand Lobby of The Hermitage Hotel will host local female singers and songwriters, in celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage. Visit thehermitagehotel.com for details.
June 6, 2020 – August 29, 2020: The Suffrage Tea Series at The Hermitage Hotel
The Hermitage Hotel will continue its 19th Amendment celebrations with the Suffrage Tea Series, running from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday from June 6 through August 29, 2020. For $65 per person, guests can enjoy a discussion with the hotel’s resident historian or a member of one of the local suffrage or historical groups, who will be in period costume. The menu includes items from cookbooks written during the movement 100 years ago. Expect yellow roses and the possibility of a “Suffrage Punch,” as a throwback to the cocktails suffragists may have enjoyed way back when. Take-home gifts will also be provided, such as suffrage shortbread cookies along with the recipe from a century ago. Reservations are required for the tea series and can be made beginning March 1 at thehermitagehotel.com.
July 2020 – August 2020: Monumental Women Exhibit from Alan LeQuire
July 10, 2020 – December 31, 2020: Kate Kirkman and the Woman’s Building: On the Way to Woman’s Suffrage
An exhibit at the Parthenon Museum, Kate Kirkman and the Woman’s Building: On the Way to Woman’s Suffrage will be in the West Gallery from July 10, 200 through December 31, 2020. If you stop by before then, one of Kate’s dresses will be on display in the Parthenon Gallery Lobby starting in mid-March. For a list of events throughout the year, visit nashville.gov.
August 2020: Yellow Rose Gala
The Hermitage Hotel is hosting the Yellow Rose Gala, a multi-course dinner to celebrate the centennial, which features female chefs from across the country. The date has not yet been announced, but you can check for updates on the hotel’s website, thehermitagehotel.com.
August 2, 2020: Songs of Suffrage from the Nashville Opera
The Nashville Opera brings a performance narrative with the music of the suffrage movement to the Tennessee State Museum, to show women’s struggle for equality. The music has been arranged specifically for this event, and the cast (all Nashvillians) will perform songs representing both sides of the movement. The performance takes place on Sunday, August 2, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. For additional details, visit nashvilleopera.org.
August 18, 2020: Virtual Grand Opening for Votes For Women: The Legacy of the 19th Amendment at the Nashville Main Library
Set to open virtually on August 18, the Nashville Public Library is offering Votes For Women: The Legacy of the 19th Amendment, its permanent exhibit devoted to the 19th Amendment’s impact — the power of women and girls, and the power of voting and democracy. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. CST and culminates at noon, when viewers will ring bells big and small across the city – including churches, universities, and other institutions and organizations. When the 19th Amendment was ratified a century ago, cities across the U.S. rang bells in celebration and Nashville stayed quiet. This year, we’re ending this historic silence. You can tune into the virtual opening HERE, and don’t forget to get your bells ready!
September 10 – 12, 2020: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration Featuring the Nashville Symphony
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe honors the women and men whose efforts led to the ratification, with the world premiere of a work co-commissioned by the Nashville Symphony. The season-opening program features an all-female vocal group and also celebrates the legacy of American composer Florence Price. You can find additional details at nashvillesymphony.org.
November 7, 2020: Conservancy Gala at the Parthenon
Events are continually being added to this list, so keep checking back for updates. Are there any celebrations we’ve missed? Please let us know by emailing [email protected].
Our ‘Since 1920’ t-shirts are perfect to wear to celebrate “votes for women.” See them HERE!