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Throughout 2020, Vanderbilt University will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees women’s constitutional right to vote. Vanderbilt will recognize this centennial anniversary through a new website, educational programming, lectures, community events, historical exhibits, art displays and more.
“The anniversary of the 19th Amendment is an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress we have made over the last century—as a nation, in Tennessee and at Vanderbilt,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente. “In the spirit of the many people who fought for voting rights throughout the history of our nation, Vanderbilt is committed to providing every person with the opportunity to be heard and make a difference. Let’s use this moment to remind ourselves that we must always be striving to find more ways to make our community more inclusive and empowering.”
Vanderbilt’s commemoration of the anniversary is being led by several campus partners, including the Office of the Chancellor, the Division of Communications, the Division of Government and Community Relations, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center.
The university’s new centralized 19th Amendment Centennial website includes links to campus and community programming, related research, academic courses and a news feed. The website also links to the Women at Vanderbilt site, which details the multiple initiatives aimed at studying and addressing key issues facing the broad array of women at Vanderbilt, including the Women’s Advancement and Equity Councils (one led by faculty, students and postdoctoral scholars and one led by staff).
Vanderbilt also has released a logo in recognition of the centennial, which can be implemented on marketing materials for related programs and events across the university in 2020. Please contact the Division of Communications to use the logo for events and promotional materials related to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
In addition to Vanderbilt’s slate of events, the state of Tennessee, city of Nashville and numerous community organizations will mark the centennial anniversary with a broad array of activities, some in partnership with the university.
History of the 19th Amendment
19th Amendment: 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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Tennessee played a critical role in the passage of the 19th Amendment. On Aug. 18, 1920, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the ratification resolution for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, crossing the threshold of the three-fourths of states needed for ratification. With 36 states passing the amendment, women officially gained the right to vote when it took effect on Aug. 26, 1920.
However, the 19th Amendment was only the beginning of women’s suffrage in the United States. While African American women were active leaders and supporters of women’s suffrage efforts across the nation, racism within the movement and racist voting laws passed after ratification meant women of color wouldn’t gain more equitable access to the ballot box until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For this reason, Vanderbilt also will highlight the university’s scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement as part of its commemoration of women’s voting rights.
To learn more about engaging with the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, both at the university and in the extended community, visit Vanderbilt’s 19th Amendment Centennial website. If a university department, office or organization would like to have their event included on the 19th Amendment Centennial website, simply add it to the university events calendar and use “19thAmendment” as the tag.