"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
Well, sure … but that was something brand new when on Aug. 26, 1920—90 years ago today—Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified that the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was in force. The Tennessee General Assembly, on Aug. 18, by just one vote, had ratified the proposed equal suffrage amendment becoming the 36th and final necessary state to put the women’s vote into force.
Pioneers in Gloucester and Mathews quickly registered. Mrs. M. E. Bristow was the first to sign up in Gloucester, according to the Gloucester Gazette. The Mathews Journal listed its voting pioneers in a group: Miss Mary R. Lane, Mrs. Helen F. Forrest, Mrs. Helena W. Elliott, Miss Jessie Hopkins, Miss Georgien Mogford, Mrs. Clara L. Smith and Mrs. Madeline E. Barnes. They had to pay a poll tax to qualify.
The change came ha...
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